Australian tennis veteran John Millman has lashed out against Wimbledon officials for their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players.
The Australian sits on the ATP Player Council and gave an impassioned speech on the situation in Ukraine and the current governing of tennis across the world.
Wimbledon made the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the Grand Slam tournament amid the conflict in Ukraine.
The ATP, WTA, and ITF tours subsequently announced they would be stripping the tournament of ranking points - rendering Wimbledon as essentially an exhibition event.
Millman claims the ATP Player Council were never consulted about the decision from Wimbledon and branded it ‘discrimination’.
Following his first-round loss at the French Open, he called on the British government to reveal if they had been the ones pushing the decision.
He began his rant by lamenting the conflict in Ukraine as well as wars happening in the middle east.
However, he turned his attention to the Wimbledon officials to blast their decision.
He said: “There were two options – recommendations, not even laws – given by the UK government. One, to sign a declaration and be able to play and the other one to ban them.
“Without really any consultation, a unilateral decision was made to ban players. It just goes against what tennis is about.
“I have a problem with lack of communication. The Player Council, player reps on the ATP board, hadn’t been consulted until after the decision had been made.
“The Russian and Belarusian players weren’t even asked if they’d sign the declaration prior to this decision being made. We talk about their safety. They weren’t even asked if they could sign it.
“And this is where the governance is wrong in tennis, at grand slam level. Because it should be a partnership.”
Despite his comments, Millman maintained that he would love to still play at the tournament, however, admitted that his comments may leave him in some strife.
He added: “Maybe I’ll get banned for saying this stuff.”
With the ATP stripping the tournament of points, Russian world number two Daniil Medvedev could potentially return to the top ranking.
When asked about the ATP’s decision to have the tournament have no bearing on ranking, Millman replied: “We allowed our player reps and tournament reps to make that decision.
“Obviously, there were a whole lot of options on the table, but the point is you can't make unilateral decisions and exclude players. It's discrimination, right.
“Players are being ignored. There's no consultation. There's frustration (from them) with everything, that they're being ignored, that points have been removed, frustration that there is discrimination.
“We've got to start working together and that's not happening.”
Featured Image Credit: ikola Krstic / Alamy. Neil Tingle / Alamy.
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