The tennis world has hit out over Novak Djokovic’s fast-track entry to the ATP Finals in Turin, with Aussie rival Nick Kyrgios also dragged into the drama.
Djokovic – who is currently ranked No.7 in the world – earned a spot in the eight-man ATP Tour finale courtesy of winning a grand slam tournament in 2022 – namely the Wimbledon championship.
However, Djokovic’s triumph at the All England Club came after rankings points were controversially withdrawn from the Wimbledon tournament.
Djokovic came from a set down to beat Kyrgios in the final at the All England Club, clinching his seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st grand slam overall.
However, the Serb failed to gain any rankings points due to a farcical situation that came about after the ATP and WTA tours decided to take action in retaliation to the All England Club’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players.
Wimbledon officials decided to take a stand against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, barring all players from Russia and Belarus from competing at the grass-court grand slam.
The ATP and WTA tours then stripped Wimbledon of rankings points, but decided not to put the rankings on hold.
It meant Djokovic lost the 2000 points he earned from winning Wimbledon in 2021, resulting in a drop in the overall rankings.
For players like Wimbledon runner-up Kyrgios, it also hindered his ability to climb the world rankings, and ultimately qualify for the ATP Finals as one of the top-eight male players in the world.
Kyrgios’s agent Stuart Duguid is among those questioning why Djokovic qualifies for the Finals on the back of a Wimbledon grand slam that offered no rankings points for players.
“First and foremost, Novak deserves to be in Turin,” Duguid said.
“But it feels arbitrary that he is the only player to benefit from his performances at Wimbledon. Surely, by the same token, Nick’s Wimbledon final should count as well, which would put him right in the mix.
“If someone had the motivation, this anomaly could be susceptible to a governance challenge.
“Players’ endorsement contracts are affected by their year-end ranking and whether or not they qualify for the ATP Finals. Many – such as Nick – will be out of pocket, whereas Novak has been made whole.”
Britain’s Cameron Norrie – currently No.13 in the world – would by vying for the top-eight if the points he would have earned from a Wimbledon semi-final run actually counted.
NIck Kyrgios ‘gets nothing’ from Wimbledon run
As it is, Norrie has to win the Paris Masters just to secure a spot in Turin as one of the two alternates who stand by in case of injury.
Norrie says it’s “unfair” that Djokovic is the only player to benefit from his Wimbledon performance, when it comes to the ATP Finals.
“Djokovic obviously qualified [for Turin] from Wimbledon so that seems a bit strange, but that’s the way it is,” Norrie said.
“It seems unfair [to me, and] I guess for [Nick] Kyrgios as well. He lost the final and he gets nothing.”
Carlos Alcaraz, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic have already qualified for the ATP Finals.
Among those also vying for one of the remaining places in the eight-man field is American Taylor Fritz, who beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-2 in the first round of the Paris Masters, which is the final qualifying event.
Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz are in the running to round out the eight-player field with Fritz needing to reach the final in Paris to have any chance of making the eight.
“It’s been the best season ever,” Fritz said on court.
“No pressure. I’m just trying to have the best result I possibly can. I played well here last year, so I don’t see why I can’t do it again this year.”