Andy Murray weighs in on whether Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and co will boycott Wimbledon

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Andy Murray does not believe Wimbledon will ever be seen as merely an ‘exhibition’ tournament, amid suggestions that is what the event has been reduced to by the joint ATP and WTA decision to strip this year’s event of ranking points.

Murray took to Twitter earlier on Wednesday to give his opinion on the backlash Wimbledon is currently facing amid the rankings point furore. He initially suggested the majority of fans who watch Wimbledon will not care about the ranking points on offer to players, and when former US player Mardy Fish responded to tell him that the fans might not care, but the players do, Murray responded: “Absolutely the players do. I don’t dispute that.

“I’d rather play for points however 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… anyway, congrats to all the players that earned 90 ATP/WTA ranking points at Roland Garros today!”

The likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are expected to compete at Wimbledon, as are most eligible players, due to a combination of the prize money on offer, the event’s prestige, and the fact that there are no other scheduled ATP or WTA tournaments – above Challenger Tour level – for players to accrue ranking points elsewhere during the Wimbledon fortnight.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka was the first high-profile player to say she is considering skipping Wimbledon this year. The 24-year-old, who has never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon and was speaking in the wake of another early major exit at the French Open, insisted she is the sort of player who “gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.”

“I’m not sure why, but If I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition,” Osaka said. “I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just like feels that way. I just can’t go at it 100%. I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances, but that might change.

“I would love to go just to get some experience on grass, but at the same time, for me, it’s kind of – 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. So I think the intention was really good, but the execution is kind of all over the place.”

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