Rafa Nadal refused to be drawn on whether he would support Wimbledon being stripped of its ranking points as a row over its decision to ban Russian and Belarussian players intensifies.
Wimbledon - having considered the options surrounding their position over the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war - announced their decision last month, and it provoked a backlash among many on the tennis circuit, including from male world No.1 Novak Djokovic and Britain's Andy Murray.
Now it seems things have gone a step further with some of the world's top players said to be pushing for the grass-court major to experience the aforementioned, unprecedented consequence over their move.
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When asked if such a measure had been taken into consideration, Nadal - a member of the ATP Players Council - said: "No and I don't have a clear opinion on that, so I prefer to not give you a clear answer. And that's it.
"There are some private conversations on the council about this kind of stuff, something that honestly I think it's not good to [make] public.
"The only thing that we can do is to be in touch with Wimbledon and with the rest of the ATP management to do the things that work better to protect every single player in the ATP.
"At the end that's our job, to protect the players and to work in the benefit of every single player that we are representing. That's all. The rest of the things I am not able to talk about."
Nadal was also asked - after his straight-sets win over John Isner at the Italian Open - whether a ranking freeze for the banned players during the event at the All England Club would represent a better move.
The Spaniard said: "What's going to be fair or more or less fair for everybody - nothing is perfect. When things like this happen, nothing will be perfect because we have to know that not for everybody it will be perfect.
"My personal opinion I am going to say it and I have already said it in private, but this is about the [ATP] Tour, it's not about my opinion."
Rumours of Nadal and Roger Federer reportedly pushing for the ranking points stripping were met with criticism from UK MP Chris Bryant, the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia.
“Federer and Nadal should come clean,” Bryant said.
“Do they want [Russian president] Vladimir Putin to fail or don’t they care?
"The men’s tour are behaving appallingly. It’s like they haven’t heard what is happening in Ukraine or don’t care.”
Earlier this month, Nadal had seemingly made his stance clear, saying: "I think it's very unfair to my Russian tennis mates, my colleagues.
"In that sense it's not their fault what's happening in this moment with the war."
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