Amid rumblings of a Wimbledon boycott among the playing groups within the ATP and WTA over the axing of rankings points, two-time former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has clapped back at those who have expressed reluctance over playing at the All England Club.
The change by tennis authorities has prompted some players to say they may skip Wimbledon, with four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka among those declaring the tournament is “like an exhibition” without the chance to further their position in the rankings system.
Osaka claimed she is “motivated by seeing my ranking go up” and revealed she is “leaning towards not playing”, while defending champion Novak Djokovic confirmed he will play despite losing 2000 points described it as a “lose-lose situation” as the topic dominated media gatherings at Roland-Garros.
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Murray is part of the ATP player council, which was collectively in favor of the ATP’s decision to dump points. He said the tournament “will never feel like an exhibition”.
“I’d hazard a guess that most people watching on center court Wimbledon in a few weeks’ time wouldn’t know or care about how many ranking points a player gets for winning a third round match,” Murray, who opted to miss the French Open to prepare for the grass-court season, tweeted.
“But I guarantee they will remember who wins. Wimbledon will never be an exhibition and will never feel like an exhibition.
“I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of the Masters gets,” Murray added.
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“Me and my friends love football and none of us know or care how many ranking points a team gets for winning the FIFA World Cup.
“But I could tell you exactly who won the World Cup and the Masters.”
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Murray was taken to task by former player Mardy Fish online, who declared that players care about ranking points because it’s the lifeblood of their career. The Scottish star said everyone wants to play for points but “it’s not the be all and end all.”
“Do you think the top golfers would still play The Masters if there was no points? Would Mito Pereira rather have won the PGA championship and earned no points or finished 3rd and got however many ranking points he got?
“I could be wrong but I don’t think any tennis player serving for a Slam title, any footballer taking a penalty in a World Cup shootout, or any golfer teeing off on the 18th hole of a major was thinking about ranking points.
“What’s making them nervous in my opinion is the possibility of winning a historic/prestigious event in the sport they love and have trained most of their life for not the thought of ranking points. I think the player field at Wimbledon will reflect this.”
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In addition, the International Tennis Federation said Friday it would not grant its ranking points for the junior and wheelchair events at Wimbledon this year, explaining that “tournament organizers are not permitted to unilaterally impose entry criteria.”
The US Tennis Association, which runs the US Open, has not announced a decision about players from Russia and Belarus; that tournament starts August 29.
“The USTA respects the difficult position that Wimbledon faced in its decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players,” spokesman Chris Widmaier wrote in an email.
“We also respect the grounds on which both the men’s and women’s tours responded, though we believe their decision to withdraw points from all those who play Wimbledon this year is disproportionately severe due to the extreme and unique situation Wimbledon faced when making its decision.”
– with AP
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