Andy Murray hits out at tennis stars threatening to skip next month’s Wimbledon Grand Slam


Andy Murray has taken to social media to dispute claims that this year’s Wimbledon showpiece will be an ‘exhibition’ after officials decided to strip the tournament of ranking points.

The ATP and WTA Tours – who also represent the players – have said that Wimbledon will not contribute towards the official rankings due to their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing. 

As a result, a host of players have threatened to withdraw from the prestigious Grand Slam tournament – with four-time Major champion Naomi Osaka admitting she was considering pulling out due to the lack of points on offer. 

Andy Murray has disputed claims that this year’s Wimbledon showpiece will be an ‘exhibition’

Former world No 1 Osaka hinted on Monday she may skip the third Grand Slam of the season while GB star Cameron Norrie conceded the Championships had been reduced to ‘almost an exhibition’. 

However, Murray has taken to social media to dispute such claims and emphasis the importance of winning trophies over gaining points. 

The 35-year-old star took to Twitter to say: ‘I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of the Masters gets. 

‘Me and my friends love football and non of us know or care how many ranking points a team gets for winning the World Cup.

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‘But I could tell you exactly who won the World Cup and the Masters. I’d hazard a guess that most people watching on centre court at Wimbledon in a few weeks time wouldn’t know or care about how many ranking points a player gets for winning a 3rd round match.  

‘But I guarantee they will remember who wins. Wimbledon will never be an exhibition and will never feel like an exhibition. The end.’

Murray’s comments came after Osaka hinted she may skip the tournament for the second year running. She said: ‘I would say like the decision [to strip Wimbledon of ranking points] is affecting my mentality going into grass. I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to go there. 

‘I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but like at the same time, for me, I don’t want to say pointless – no pun intended -, but I’m the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up or stuff like that. 

Naomi Osaka is 'leaning towards' skipping Wimbledon after officials stripped the tournament of ranking points due to their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing

Naomi Osaka is ‘leaning towards’ skipping Wimbledon after officials stripped the tournament of ranking points due to their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing

‘I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition. I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels that way. When I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.’  

John Isner, a men’s semi-finalist in 2018, has expressed similar concerns to Osaka. He expects a strong field of athletes to materialise but pointed out there may be players who will not prepare as thoroughly as they would normally.

Isner said: ‘Right now, I’m not that stoked about Wimbledon. I might just show up on Saturday and maybe I will play Monday and see what happens. Because our currency on tour is points.’

Britain’s top male player Cam Norrie also shared his concerns over this year’s tournament and admitted it’s prestige could be diminished. He said: ‘Wimbledon is still such a special event. But I think you’ll see top players not playing, just resting and getting ready for the hardcourt events [later in the summer],’ he warned.

‘Especially those that don’t worry too much about the money. So I could see a lot of players, well maybe a few top players, not playing because of that.

Cam Norrie fears other players will opt out of Wimbledon too due to the lack of points available

Cam Norrie fears other players will opt out of Wimbledon too due to the lack of points available

Martina Navratilova doesn't understand why tennis stars may snub Wimbledon this summer

Martina Navratilova doesn’t understand why tennis stars may snub Wimbledon this summer

‘It’s an extremely difficult situation with everything going on with the war, but for me it’s tough – having a home slam and not gaining any ranking points from that. You’re not really playing for anything, you’re playing this almost like an exhibition so for me it was tough to see.

‘There are not many tournaments on the grass already, and then suddenly there’s no there’s no points [at Wimbledon].’ 

However, nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova agreed with Murray and said that players should not care about the lack of ranking points. 

‘First of all I couldn’t care less if there were no points given,’ Navratilova told TalkTV. ‘I always played for the trophies, not the points and not the money. So for me it was Wimbledon and nothing else, everything else came in second.

‘So the points, it’s not an exhibition. I don’t understand that view, that players wouldn’t play because there are no points. You are playing for computer ranking? I just wanted to hold that trophy, that wonderful rose dish.’

World No 1 and favourite for the French Open, Poland’s Iga Swiatek, seems to agree with Navratilova. She said: ‘I’m OK playing without points, I’m OK playing with points. 

Djokovic - who won last year's men's singles tournament by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final - has confirmed he will still play at Wimbledon but said he was in support of the decision

Djokovic – who won last year’s men’s singles tournament by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final – has confirmed he will still play at Wimbledon but said he was in support of the decision

‘For me it’s more the political side of things, because Poland is supporting Ukrainians, and the war is right next to my country.

‘It’s harder on me from that perspective. I don’t really mind about points. For me, it’s Wimbledon.’

While the likes of Novak Djokovic confirmed he will still play at Wimbledon but admitted he was in support of the stripping of ranking points.

He said: ‘I’m affected because I’m not able to defend points but I’m happy to see that the ATP and the players decided to show Wimbledon that when you make a wrong decision there are consequences,’ he said. ‘Wimbledon was my dream as a kid, I never looked at it for points or prize money.’

He insisted there had been other options apart from banning players but added: ’They still decided for this one without talking to anybody. I’m for the union, always was.’

Wimbledon’s top officials will travel to the French Open later this week amid a glimmer of hope that some compromise might be found in the row over ranking points. 



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