Photograph: Getty Images
Every year Wimbledon is the most exciting time of the season as modern tennis and technology couples with traditions of yesteryear to create the most exciting of tournaments.
But in 2022, that has changed due to a political stand-off, and almost unjust to players who are and are not involved in the event.
Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from the tournament due to the invasion of Ukraine, which the athletes have absolutely nothing to do with, and in turn the ATP and WTA have both said that the ranking points allocated for Wimbledon will be stripped with no freeze on the points from 2021.
The stripping of points is a fair move in terms of allowing the banned players not to be disadvantaged whilst they are on a forced fortnightly sabbatical, but the fact that there are no points to be maintained does leave many at a disadvantage.
Take Novak Djokovic for example, he squandered 2000 points in Australia for not vaccinating, his own choice, and then lost in the quarters of the French Open to fierce rival Rafael Nadal where he would surrender 1640 points, leaving his ranking at 3.
Now with the absence of the banned Medvedev and the injured Alexander Zverev, Djokovic will be the top seed, and he could very well defend his crown, but he will still relinquish the two millennia of points that he acquired with his third straight major of 2021.
This could mean that Djokovic will drop as low as seventh in the rankings after the conclusion of the tournament at SW19.
No matter what your thoughts on Djokovic are, it’s not the fairest of outcomes for those that are able to participate.
Speaking of participation, the plethora of players that will be watching Wimbledon on television, or perhaps boycotting this year’s tournament all together, is quite extensive.
World No.1 Daniil Medvedev won’t be there, nor will No.8 Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev or Karen Khachanov, all of whom have progressed to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam and have sat inside the top 15.
In the women’s draw, No.6 Aryna Sabalenka will be sitting out the tournament, while two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka will be watching from the couch along with the in form Daria Kasatkina who is fresh off a Roland Garros semifinal and two grass court quarterfinals in recent weeks.
Ekatarina Alexandrova would have been seeded at SW19 but she has been turned away, as has World No.35 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Furthermore, players have forgone the chance to even qualify for the tournament with no points on offer, most notably Chris O’Connell from Australia.
The 28-year-old will be plying his trade in a Challenger Tour event in Malaga, where he will be the top seed.
Should he emerge with the title, it could see him break into the top 100 with the ranking points that are on offer, so even with Wimbledon’s prizemoney remaining the same, O’Connell is setting up his back half of the season strategically.
Can you blame him?
This event will also be the first Wimbledon since 1998 without the Swiss Maestro, Roger Federer, in the draw.
A Wimbledon without Federer is something we will have to get used to, but this first year makes it feel that little bit more hollow.
Hopefully the tennis at the tournament will speak for itself, but it just feels like there is no winners out of this, you could win the tournament and still lose out or you can miss the tournament and lose out.
2022 has provided tennis fans with so many wonderful and surprising narratives that have left us wanting more, but the lead up to Wimbledon feels empty.