despite the absence of points awarded, the London Grand Slam retains all its greatness

despite the absence of points awarded, the London Grand Slam retains all its greatness

The 2022 edition of Wimbledon will be unprecedented in more ways than one. Without Russian and Belarusian players, banned from participation by the organizers, or points awarded by the ATP and WTA in response to this first measure, Wimbledon will look like a gala tournament. All the more so without the presence of the world numbers 1 and 2. Daniil Medvedev, because of his Russian nationality, and the German Alexander Zverev, who is recovering from his ankle injury at Roland-Garros, will not travel to London.

A London tournament without its first two seeds, an unprecedented event at Wimbledon since the creation of the ATP ranking in 1973. And the first time in a Grand Slam since the Australian Open 1999, where Pete Sampras and Marcelo Rios, respectively numbers 1 and 2 in the world, were the big absentees. This historical situation is however qualified by the former player Arnaud Clément. “The world number 3 Novak Djokovic will be there, and he is finally perhaps the real number 1 in the spirit, and tennistically. Especially at Wimbledon, where he remains, in recent years, very largely dominating. “ Not enough, therefore, to make the Grand Slam lose its grandeur, despite this reduced cast.

On the other hand, can the absence of ATP and WTA points distributed lessen the appeal of the London tournament? Admittedly, this decision not to award any points will not concern the spectators, but it will not be without consequences for the players on the circuit.

Those who had performed well in 2021, and therefore won a lot of points, will not be able to defend them and even risk falling in the standings. This is the case of the Italian Matteo Berrettini, finalist last year, and current 11th in the world. “I was completely taken in”, he said after qualifying for the semi-final in Stuttgart on June 10.

“It’s a difficult situation, I have so many points to defend and now I can’t defend them anymore.”

Matteo Berrettini, 11th player in the world at ATP

at a press conference during the Stuttgart tournament

Without points awarded, one of the motivations will therefore be the prize money, which remains unchanged. “The fact of not benefiting from points compared to the efforts that have been made in terms of adaptation to the surface and of only receiving a check makes the way of approaching the tournament a bit special”, believes Arnaud Clement.

Because apart from “those who are going to get a big result that will remain significant in their career, a 21st or 23rd Grand Slam title, or even a first major title, not benefiting from the boost in the rankings in the event of a good performance will be a bit special for many players”, further analyzes Arnaud Clément.

If all the participants have different situations, the players of the secondary circuit have a crucial need for these gains won during the Grand Slam tournaments to ensure the continuation of their season. “Of course, it’s a pity that there are no points, but there is still some money to be won. And in Grand Slams, it’s worth it. Money, we don’t won’t win in challengers but only in Grand Slam tournaments. Skipping a Grand Slam is not an option”, explains Enzo Couacaud, 207th in the world, qualified for the main draw for the first time, after coming out of qualifying on Thursday June 23.

However, will the Grand Slam on grass lose its aura? “Once the tournament gets going, the players get past their first, second round, they’ll be fully into it and forget about it” this context, believes Arnaud Clément. Because playing Wimbledon always has a special flavor, whatever the circumstances.

Serbian Novak Djokovic kisses the trophy in front of the public, after his victory in the Wimbledon final, on July 11, 2021. (ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

“Wimbledon is a monument. It is the biggest tournament in the world, says Patrice Hagelauer, former coach of Yannick Noah, of the France Davis Cup team and ex-DTN within the French Tennis Federation (FFT). Playing Wimbledon is like playing the Olympics once every four years. Players come to represent their country, for prestige and history.”

“Going home with the Wimbledon Cup is truly priceless.”

Patrice Hagelauer, former trainer of Yannick Noah

at franceinfo: sport

This feeling of prestige and history is also felt by current players on the circuit. “Inevitably, like all the players who participate in the qualifications, I wondered, for five minutes, if I was going to participate or give up. But, Wimbledon remains a prestigious Grand Slam. Moreover, we can see that very few of players skipped it”, says Enzo Couacaud.

If the young Habs felt at the start of the tournament in qualifying, Monday, June 20, the same motivation that drives him every year, he admits, however, playing with a little more relaxation. “It takes a bit of the pressure off because if I lose, at least I could do a challenger tournament next week where there are points up for grabs. It won’t be the end of the world. At least I won’t have suffered this regulation, explains the 27-year-old.

“Even though, he acknowledges, with Grand Slam points, you can move up the rankings. So, let’s imagine that I make the semi-final at Wimbledon, I will remain 200th in the ATP, whereas in normal times, I should have gone up to 40th place.” For Patrice Hagelauer, if this situation is going to be “a little more penalizing for those who are beyond 100th place, all players will be penalized and will not score points”. But everyone will want “playing Wimbledon because it’s Wimbledon, that’s history.” Whatever the circumstances, the oldest Grand Slam in the world will continue to mark its history and that of its sport, in green and against all odds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.