Novak Djokovic has confirmed his desire to play at Wimbledon this year but criticised the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament.
Speaking after his victory over Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round of the French Open, the world No. 1 also accepted the ATP’s decision to not award ranking points.
“Yes, I intend to go to Wimbledon,” Djokovic said.
“On a personal, individual level, I have been very negatively affected by [the removal of ranking points].
“But I have been speaking with management and the president of [the] ATP and some of the council members actually in the last few days.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening – and there was from the Wimbledon side – then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences.”
Djokovic’s remarks come following the ATP and WTA’s response to Wimbledon’s controversial ban on Russian and Belarusian players, which rules out a number of top players including Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka, and Victoria Azarenka.
The move to strip the event of rankings points essentially renders it an exhibition tournament.
On Monday, Australian tennis player Chris O’Connell spoke out regarding the developments, explaining he is considering snubbing the tournament.
In Djokovic’s case, he is set to lose 2,000 points due to the decision, adding to his 2,000 point loss after being denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title earlier in the year due to his vaccination status.
According to the Serbian star, tournament organisers could have communicated and negotiated better.
“They [the All England Club] haven’t discussed it with anybody from ATP or any individual players – or, for that matter, Russian or Belarusian players – to just communicate and understand whether there is a common ground where both sides could be making a compromise and something could work out,” he said.
“So I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all.
“Wimbledon is still Wimbledon, it was my dream as a kid, I never looked at it for points or prize money, but I understand the group of players affected. It’s a lose-lose situation.”
Despite the points hit, the 35-year-old also expressed his concerns about further division in the tennis community.
“Anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict – a lot of separation instead of unification,” he said.
“I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. But there has to be some standards or criteria, some mutual respect.”
Fortunately for Djokovic, he still has the chance to secure ranking points at this year’s French Open and defend his title on the clay courts of Paris.
A dominant 6-3 6-1 6-0 victory over Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka was an ideal start to his 2022 Roland-Garros campaign.
In the second round, he will face the winner of Tuesday’s match between Federico Coria and Alex Molcan.