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Dan Evans criticises ATP and WTA threats to strip LTA of pre-Wimbledon events

Dan Evans playing at Queens

Evans is unhappy with the idea that tournament licences could be sold overseas should the ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes continue

Britain’s Dan Evans criticised the ATP and WTA tours for threatening to strip the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) of pre-Wimbledon events, like Queen’s, if Russians and Belarusians stay banned.

In 2022, the LTA and All England Club (AELTC) banned entries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The LTA was fined £1.4m by the ATP and WTA for its move, while Wimbledon was played without rankings points.

“It’s a sad state of affairs if Queen’s wasn’t on,” Evans told the Times.external-link

“I’m not a fan of the threats,” the British number two added. “The ATP should not throw stones when they live in glass houses.

“Queen’s is one of the best and most prestigious tournaments on the tour, which has done a lot for the ATP Tour in its time.”

The announcement to ban Russian and Belarusian entries was generally well received in the UK but led to the removal of ranking points at Wimbledon and resulted in the large fines.

Following an appeal, the fine from the WTA will be halved to £500,000 if players from the two nations are allowed to enter this year.

The WTA and ATP Tours have said they will cancel the LTA’s membership if it exercises further “discrimination based on nationality”, which means traditional tournaments staged at The Queen’s Club, Eastbourne and elsewhere in the run-up to Wimbledon could be lost.

“I’m a massive advocate for the ATP generally,” added Evans. “They do great things but we have to have sensible conversations.

“I don’t think threatening the LTA with taking away the licence for these events is how it’s going to be resolved.”

There is no threat of Wimbledon not going ahead because it is a Grand Slam tournament, meaning it is not governed by the ATP and WTA tours.

“It affects all of the Brits,” Evans said. “They’re not going to get chances or playing opportunities with a wild card.

“I think common sense should prevail. The LTA’s hands are tied a little bit as well. This subject goes a bit bigger than tennis federations and governing bodies.”

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