Australian No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic has hit out at the decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points, dismissing the move that’s rocked the sport as “very unfair”.
The woman who took over at the top of the domestic rankings after Ash Barty’s sudden retirement told AAP she’ll be hard hit by the explosive decision of the ATP and WTA to effectively turn the world’s top tournament into a glorified exhibition event.
The decision was made because Wimbledon had imposed its controversial suspension on Russian and Belarusian players, leaving the men’s and women’s tours to say the whole rankings system was being undermined by a selective ban.
Tomljanovic reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, the finest performance of her career as she beat Britain’s US Open champion-to-be Emma Raducanu en route, earning far more WTA ranking points than she’d ever done before.
But because of the ban, those are expected to now be wiped this year and she will plummet down the rankings after working so hard to earn a career-high ranking of 38 earlier this year.
“I don’t think they’ll carry over the points earned from 2021, they’ll get wiped and then you don’t have a chance to defend your points. That’s very unfair, in my opinion,” the 29-year-old told AAP on the eve of the tournament on Saturday.
“It’s going to be very strange to go to Wimbledon where no points will be on offer.”
But Tomljanovic is taking the blow in her stride, saying: “Sometimes unfair things happen and you’ve just got to roll with the punches.”
The 430 points she picked up for her performance last year before losing to compatriot Ash Barty make up more than a third of her total live points tally, which currently stands on 1216.
The live rankings have Tomljanovic currently ranked 42nd but on the current projections, she’ll crash down to 85th.
It is possible that the WTA could decide to freeze the 2021 Wimbledon ranking points, which would protect Tomljanovic, but she’s not hopeful.
What annoys her most is that she was actually looking forward to trying to defend her points at the grass-court slam.
“There’s no reason why I couldn’t have actually successfully defended them,” she reflected.
“I would have loved to have had that opportunity because there’s pressure there that you want to embrace when you’ve done really well the year before.
“You get that extra pump of adrenaline when you come back to the courts where you remember how well you’ve done. Its always special to do that, and I was actually looking forward to that in a weird way.
But Tomljanovic reckons there’s no way she would boycott a points-free Wimbledon.
“Of course, I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.
“Wimbledon is Wimbledon – and if you win it and get no points, of course you’d still take it.
“But I’m definitely going into that small bracket of players who are going to be really affected – but it’s out of my control, so I’ve just got to try to do well regardless of that.”
The All England Club (AELTC), which runs Wimbledon, have expressed “deep disappointment” about the move, which would have major ramifications at the top of the rankings, with world No.1 Novak Djokovic’s standing in real peril of losing that if he automatically ships 2000 points.