After losing in the first round of the French Open, Naomi Osaka told the media that she is still considering whether to play Wimbledon because the tournament is not awarding ranking points this year.
When Wimbledon decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from entering the tournament, as a way to punish the countries for the war in Ukraine, the WTA and ATP responded by stripping the Grand Slam event of ranking points as a way to safeguard equality between athletes who are not responsible for their government’s decisions. Now that Wimbledon 2022 is not awarding ranking points, players are largely demotivated to compete.
The former world No.1 Osaka was among the first to explain that the “intention of this measure was good”, but the way it was executed was “all over the place” and she is likely to skip Wimbledon this year:
I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just like feels that way. Whenever I think like something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100%.
I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances.
Defending men’s singles champion Novak Djokovic will definitely lose 2000 points due to this decision, but he said that he was not looking at Wimbledon through the lens of points or prize money, so he is still motivated to play.
Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens backs the WTA’s decision, saying that the stance was more important than the wants of specific individuals.
American John Isner also supports the decision, but admits that he will find it hard to adjust to the situation and will feel less eager to compete as the players’ currency on tour are ranking points.