Rafael Nadal is one of the high-profile players to have spoken out against Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from taking part in this year's championships.
The Spaniard spoke out against the decision in early May, claiming that the decision from Wimbledon was "very unfair" on the banned players, who he said were not to blame for the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Rumours have flown in recent weeks that the world's top players will push to sanction the championships in south London, with Nadal opting against denying the rumours in his post-match press conference at the Italian Open on Wednesday.
Rafa Nadal: 'That's our job, to protect the players'
Rafael Nadal progressed to the last 16 of the Italian Open on Wednesday after a straight sets win over John Isner.
Not much can be done against a Rafa backhand 🔥
He is on to the next round after a 6-3 6-1 victory over John Isner.@RafaelNadal | @InteBNLdItalia | #IBI22 pic.twitter.com/8ZVhqP64Px
— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 11, 2022
Nadal, alongside the likes of Andy Murray, has been outspoken about Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from participating in the iconic Grand Slam next month. The ATP, WTA, and ITF have all opted to allow players from those two countries to continue competing, despite the ongoing events in Ukraine.
The decision to ban them from Wimbledon goes against that blanket decision. Some reports have suggested that the world's top players have called for the championships at SW19 to be stripped of world ranking points as a response to their decision.
Speaking after his win over Isner on Wednesday, Nadal refused to comment on those rumours, but said that the ATP Player Council (of which he is a member) must act in the interests of all players under their protection.
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.
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 tour, it's not about my opinion.
Nadal won a record breaking 21st Grand Slam title at January's Australian Open, winning a thrilling final against Daniil Medvedev in Melbourne. Under the ban at Wimbledon, Medvedev is one of the players who will miss out on competing.
The ATP Players Council are expected to announce their proposed sanctions against Wimbledon in the aftermath of the Italian Open. The action taken by Nadal and co. will certainly be intriguing.