Wimbledon 2022 is already turning into one of the most controversial and messy tournaments in living memory, and it looks set to be robbed of one of the game’s biggest stars.

Held in England every summer, Wimbledon is usually an eagerly anticipated sporting event viewed the world over. Whilst it will still have the prestige, and doubtless the bad weather this year, it won’t have ranking points. The Men’s ATP Tour removed the points from the competition after organisers banned Russian and Belarusian competitors in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine.

“The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit and without discrimination is fundamental to our Tour,” said the ATP. “The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system.”

That shouldn’t affect players, according to former champion Andy Murray, who said everyone was ‘still playing’. Sadly, that’s not the case, as World Number 3 Alexander Zverev is now going to miss the competition. Zverev was just behind Novak Djokovic and rising star Carlos Alvarez in the Ladbrokes tennis odds, but he no longer features. Instead, Rafael Nadal steps up to the third favourite with Italian Matteo Berrettini behind him in fourth. It’s a real blow to Germany’s Zverev, who has struggled at Wimbledon in the past.

The 25-year-old reached the fourth round in 2021, losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime despite being seeded fourth. That is in contrast to his Grand Slam record elsewhere; he’s been a semifinalist at the Australian Open (2020) and the French Open (2021, 2022), as well as a finalist at the US Open (2020). The semifinal of the French Open has put paid to his Wimbledon hopes; he went over on his ankle against Rafael Nadal, and Yahoo reports he’ll now be out of action for eight weeks.

“I am now on my way back home,” he wrote in a post on Instagram. “Based on the first medical checks, it looks like I have torn several lateral ligaments in my right foot. I want to thank everyone all over the world for the kind messages that I have received since yesterday. Your support means a lot to me right now!”

He isn’t the only big star looking in danger of missing the tournament. Last year, Emma Raducanu was little-known outside of England, but her sparkling win in the US Open put her front and centre of the world stage. Since then, she’s struggled with injury, and she too may miss the event. It would be a huge blow for the 18-year-old, who will be eager to impress on home turf, but she may now not make the late June tournament.

She retired injured in her opening game of the Nottingham Open, having pulled a muscle in her side. She trailed 4-3 to Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic but came off after just thirty minutes. “The first game, I think I pulled something. I am not really sure what exactly happened,” Raducanu said.

“I have just come off court, an absolute freak injury. I don’t know what I could have done more about it.”

She reached the last 16 of the tournament last year and was tipped to be among the likely winners this time out. If she does miss the event, it will be another significant setback for the organisers, losing ATP points and big stars from both the men’s and women’s rosters.

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