HomeSPORTSDan Evans slams ATP for threatening Wimbledon warm-up events over Russia bans...

Dan Evans slams ATP for threatening Wimbledon warm-up events over Russia bans | Tennis | Sport

Dan Evans has slammed the ATP for threatening to expel the LTA and sell licences for pre-Wimbledon tournaments like Queen’s to overseas tennis bodies if Russians are banned from competing this year. Both Wimbledon and the LTA are yet to announce whether they will repeat last year’s ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes amid the war in Ukraine, and the men’s tennis tour could harshly punish Britain’s governing body for tennis if they do not let all players compete.

Russian and Belarusian athletes were famously banned from competing in British tennis tournaments last year, most notably Wimbledon, but also from the LTA’s warm-up events across Birmingham, Nottingham, Queen’s and Eastbourne. It remains to be seen whether the ban is upheld this year as the war in Ukraine continues, but the ATP has already threatened the LTA with possible expulsion if they reintroduce the ban – meaning Britain could lose its ATP and Challenger events to overseas tennis bodies.

Britain’s current No 2 player Evans has now criticised the ATP for warning that they could remove the tournament licences, claiming he wasn’t a “fan” of the tennis tour using threats to stop the LTA banning Russian and Belarusian players. “It’s a sad state of affairs if Queen’s wasn’t on,” the world No 28 told the Times.

“I’m not a fan of the threats. The ATP should not throw stones when they live in glass houses.” Were the ATP to go through with their claim and sell the licences, Britain would lose its marquee ATP 500 event at Queen’s, which has received multiple ATP awards for being the best 500-point event over the years.

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And Evans was quick to remind the men’s tour of the standing of the London event, adding: “Queen’s is one of the best and most prestigious tournaments on the tour, which has done a lot for the ATP Tour in its time.” The 32-year-old clarified that he had no other grievances with the ATP but had taken issue with their decision to use threats against the LTA, having already fined the British tennis body £830,000 ($1 million) for banning Russians and Belarusians last year.

“I’m a massive advocate for the ATP generally,” Evans said. “They do great things but we have to have sensible conversations. I don’t think threatening the LTA with taking away the licence for these events is how it’s going to be resolved.

“It affects all of the Brits. They’re not going to get chances or playing opportunities with a wild card. I think common sense should prevail. The LTA’s hands are tied a little bit as well. This subject goes a bit bigger than tennis federations and governing bodies.”

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