Sloane Stephens has slammed Wimbledon for its ban on Russian and Belarusian players in a very strong French Open press conference.
The former US Open champion backed the decision to strip Wimbledon of its ranking points after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players from the grass-court Grand Slam following the invasion of Ukraine.
Stephens was addressing the media after her 5-7 6-4 6-2 first-round victory over Jule Niemeier and had powerful words for Wimbledon after the ATP and WTA made their decision last Friday which means players will not receive ranking points at the iconic tournament.
'Insane, amazing' - Clijsters, Hingis lead reaction to mum-of-two Maria reaching semis
05/07/2022 AT 17:34
Wimbledon's ban has ruled out a host of big-name players, including men's world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and last year's women's semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, as well as two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka.
Stephens believes the ban from Wimbledon is "discriminatory" and against everything the ATP and WTA Tours stand for in terms of everyone being included and free to compete.
"I think the decision that was taken was the correct one," Stephens began in her press conference.
"I think that there are a lot of things that happened behind the scenes that the press are not aware of, and I think there has been a lot of mishandling of how everything was handled. We will just go from there.
"I mean, 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 can tell you that we worked really hard to try to make sure that everyone had a fair opportunity to play, and at the end of the day, that's not what happened.
"I think a lot of players and people around were misinformed about what was happening and what was actually taking place in the weeks prior to a final decision being made.
"I think that's a tad bit unfair, but it's the world we live in. We live in social media. We live in people talking and tweeting and all this stuff. So it is what it is, but I think the decision that was made was the best one for the tour and for the players."

'It's not nice' - Tsitsipas on Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players

In regards to players losing out on key ranking points as a result of the decision to strip Wimbledon of what it was worth to players on the tour who are defending their tallies, Stephens said she did have some sympathy.
"Yeah, I mean, it's really unfortunate. Obviously, I love Kaja [Karolina Pliskova]. I wish she could defend those points, but I think when you look at the principles and what our tour stands for, discrimination will never be tolerated.
"That's exactly what's happening. As long as that's in play, there are no points, but we are not going to pick and choose when that works. You have to stand behind your principles and what the tour stands for, and we are one, right?
"Whatever goes, that's what goes, and I'm sure Kaja will get back those points, she's a great player, as will other people. I mean, it's not only her. It's a lot of players that will lose points. I'm going to lose points. But that's not what we stand for as a tour."

Djokovic can't support 'crazy' Wimbledon decision to ban Russian players

- - -
Stream the 2022 French Open live and on-demand on discovery+
Maria battles back from set down to reach Wimbledon semis at age of 34
05/07/2022 AT 14:38
'Sorry to kick out a Brit' - superb Niemeier ends Watson's dream run
03/07/2022 AT 14:52