There is now less than a week to go before the top tennis players of the world- or at least those of them that are allowed, will take to the courts in their iconic all-white kits at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in London, to participate in the 135th edition of Wimbledon- the oldest Grand Slam in the world.

There has been plenty of focus on Wimbledon’s organising committee months before the tournament was to commence. So allow us to brief you on what has been happening in the buildup to this year’s tournament and what makes it special and unique.

Also read: Wimbledon: Top 5 contenders for the 2022 Men’s Singles crown

Blanket ban on Russian and Belarusian players

The All England Lawn Tennis Club Pvt. Ltd made the decision to place a blanket ban on all Russian and Belarusian players from participating in any of the events in Wimbledon this year on account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These players have been barred from participating even under a neutral flag in what is being labeled as a highly controversial and discriminatory move.

As a result of this, world number one Daniil Medvedev, world number 8 Andrey Rublev- who even publicly called for an end to the invasion, and world number 22 Karen Khachanov Will not take part in this year’s grass-court event. 

But… Russian player sidesteps ban to take part 

One Russian player, however, has sidestepped these discriminatory bans and will take part in Wimbledon after all- Natela Dzalamidze, a 29-year-old Russian-born doubles player has been allowed to compete under the Georgian national flag as she is a Georgian citizen too. The world number 44 shall team up with Alexandra Krunic of Serbia for the women’s doubles event.

Also read: From Rafael Nadal to Novak Djokovic: Big guns prep for Wimbledon 2022

No ranking points

On account of the aforementioned ban on Russian and Belarusian players, the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) unanimously decided to strip away the ranking points that are usually awarded to players at this tournament as punishment. This is the first time ever in Wimbledon history that players will not earn any ranking points for their progress in this year’s tournament.

No Roger Federer 

One of the sport’s all-time greats and perhaps the greatest grass-court player of all time- Roger Federer, will be missing out on this year’s edition of Wimbledon for the first time since 1998. The eight-time Wimbledon champion last played in 2021, following which he underwent knee surgery. This year’s tournament sadly came too soon for Federer as he continues his recovery from surgery. 

But… Serena Williams is back!

Yes. The legendary 23-time Grand Slam winner is back to participate in this year’s Wimbledon championship after years of hiatus. Williams is just 1 behind Margaret Court’s unparalleled 24 Grand Slams, and she will be hoping to draw level with the legend this year, in spite of her lack of practice and preparation for the showpiece.
Also read: Courting victory: Rafael Nadal’s 5 career-defining moments

Top two ranked players to miss tournament for the first time

After world number 2 Alexander Zverev pulled out of this year’s tournament due to an ankle injury suffered during last month’s French Open clash with Nadal,  Wimbledon 2022 will see the top two ranked WTA players in the world not participating in the tournament for the first time ever. Daniil Medvedev, the top-ranked star is of course barred from participation because of his Russian nationality. This breaks a 49-year-long streak.