Norway's Casper Ruud poses with the Geneva Open trophy

Geneva (AFP) - Casper Ruud said Saturday it was unfair on grass-court specialists that they cannot earn ranking points at Wimbledon as the clay-court star looks to rack them up at the French Open.

The world number eight goes into Roland Garros in hot form on his favourite surface, having successfully defended his Geneva Open title on Saturday following last week’s run to the Rome semi-finals.

But while the Norwegian is – by his own admission – no ace on the grass, he felt for those players who see Wimbledon as their annual chance to shine at a Slam.

Wimbledon was stripped of ranking points on Friday by the sport’s main tours in a move which threatens to reduce the Grand Slam to the status of a high-profile exhibition event.

The ATP and WTA acted in response to Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players following the invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s tough to mix politics with sport,” Ruud told reporters after surviving a spirited challenge from Joao Sousa in the Geneva final.

“Wimbledon is not where I make most of my points, so for me, it’s doesn’t matter too much when you think about the points but for other players it’s of course unfair that they cannot even get the chance,” said Ruud.

“Everyone can understand both sides of the situation. First of all the statement to ban the Russians and Belarusians, it’s tough. This decision is tough to know what is right and what is wrong.”

Sousa added: “The ATP is trying to do their best for the players.

“Wimbledon made a decision that I’m not happy with, but that’s their decision and I have to respect them.”

- Ruud respect -

Ruud beat Portuguese world number 79 Sousa 7-6 (73), 4-6, 7-6 (71) in a close-fought duel that lasted just over three hours in draining temperatures that neared 30 degrees Celsius.

“It’s given me confidence and hopefully some respect in the opponents’ eyes,” said Ruud.

“They will know my results and know I’ve been on a good roll the last two weeks and playing good matches and winning a lot of clay court matches.

“I hope I can continue the streak and have a good run in Paris.”

French Open title favourites Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and rising star Carlos Alcaraz are in the other half of the draw from Ruud, leaving Stefanos Tsitsipas as his biggest potential obstacle on the road to the final.

“They are probably the four favourites to win and three of them are in the same half of the draw, so of course it’s a good opportunity for me to have a good result in the Grand Slam,” said Ruud.