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Sloane Stephens backs decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points

Sloane Stephens backs decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points
Both the WTA and the ATP have announced that no points would be on offer at this year’s tournament

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens has backed the decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points.

Both the WTA and the ATP announced on Friday that no points would be on offer at this year’s tournament after Wimbledon chiefs banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

A number of players including Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have spoken out against the All England Club’s stance.

And Stephens, a member of the Tour’s player council, said: “I think the (WTA’s) decision that was taken was the correct one.

“I think that there is a lot of things that happened behind the scenes and I think there has been a lot of mishandling of how everything was handled.

“We will just go from there. Obviously I support our CEO, I support my council, I support the players.

“The decision that’s been taken obviously wasn’t taken lightly. I think when you are backed into a corner and that’s all you can do, I think that’s why the decision was made, and I support it.

“I think when you look at the principles and what our Tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated.”

American Stephens came from a set down in her opening match at the French Open to battle past German qualifier Jule Niemeier 5-7 6-4 6-2.

There was an early shock on day one at Roland Garros as sixth seed Ons Jabeur was beaten in the first round.

The Tunisian, a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last year, was tipped as one of the main challengers to world number one Iga Swiatek.

But Jabeur was beaten 3-6 7-6 (4) 7-5 by Swiatek’s fellow Pole Magda Linette.

Former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, seeded 10, also crashed out, 2-6 6-3 6-4 against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.