This summer’s tournaments at Queen’s and Eastbourne will not be stripped of ATP ranking points over a decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus.
The ATP Player Council was in favour of action after the All England Club and the LTA banned the athletes because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But after deliberation with players and tournament organisers, the ATP says the events will “proceed as normal”.
A decision about ranking points at Wimbledon has yet to be made, however.
And the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will face disciplinary action for breaching its contract with the tour by issuing the ban.
“The LTA’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes is contrary to ATP rules and undermines the ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination – a fundamental principle of the ATP Tour,” the ATP said in a statement.
“Sanctions related to LTA’s violation of ATP rules will now be assessed separately under ATP governance.”
In March, the UK government is understood to have asked national governing bodies to request written confirmation from Russian and Belarusian players of their neutrality if they wanted to compete in events in England.
The All England Club, which organises Wimbledon, consulted the government in April about whether to allow players to compete.
It then announced the ban of Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon and UK grass-court tournaments, with the governing bodies of men’s (ATP) and women’s professional tennis (WTA) calling the move “unfair”.
Belarusian players were included in the ban because the country has supported Russia’s military action in Ukraine.
The LTA said it “welcomed the news that our ATP events this summer will be able to go ahead as planned”.
“Based on the international condemnation of Russia’s war on Ukraine and the UK government’s guidance, we believe we have taken the right decision in these difficult circumstances,” the statement continued.
“We are aware of the impact on individual Russian and Belarusian players; however, the need for them to sign a declaration meant that entry to the events would never have rested solely on merit.”
Monday’s entry deadline for Queen’s was pushed back 48 hours while the ATP reached its decision. A number of higher-ranked players may well have preferred to play the grass-court event in Halle in the same week if ranking points had been removed.
The ATP will have been equally aware that a lot of players would have suffered from the removal of points, which are such a valuable currency in gaining entry to future tournaments.
Wimbledon’s entry list has now closed, but the All England Club will not be publishing it until 3 June – primarily because it has always promised to reconsider the ban should circumstances in Ukraine “change materially”.
It seems increasingly likely that Wimbledon will also now retain its ranking points.
The loss of points would be extremely unlikely to deter players from competing at Wimbledon, and the ATP must renegotiate its ranking agreement with the four Grand Slams by the end of the year.
Under the current agreement, the Slams use tour rankings for entry and seedings, in return for the tours agreeing not to stage any other events during that two-week window.
Many players on the ATP Tour are strongly opposed to Wimbledon’s decision but the Slams have significant combined power, which the ATP will have to factor into their final decision.
The WTA is yet to decide its position before the grass-court events in Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne.