Wimbledon chief speaks about who will open 2022 competition
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Tim Henman believes an announcement from Roger Federer regarding his retirement from tennis is not far away. The former British number one suggested we are unlikely to see the Swiss Maestro at Wimbledon this year and he is targeting a return at Laver Cup in September, before playing his home event in Basel.
“I think it’s very unlikely that Federer will be at Wimbledon this year,” the five-time semi-finalist at the All-England Club said. “I think from what everyone is hearing is that the Laver Cup will be in London which is exciting and probably the Swiss indoors which is in Basel.”
However, the tennis pundit remains hopeful that the 20-time Grand Slam champion will feature on the tour next year, but is unsure how much longer he will continue. “Beyond that, hopefully that’s a stepping stone to playing more in 2023 for Federer,” Henman added.
“I think [we’ll see him]; he’s very close to the end of his career but hopefully he can be out there competing in some of the biggest and best tournaments.”
Meanwhile, Henman challenged John McEnroe earlier this week during a debate over Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from this year’s tournament, a move which led to the tournament being stripped of ranking points by both the ATP and WTA.
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“I’m gonna go after Mr Henman,” said McEnroe on Eurosport while discussing the matter. “Because I think it was a mistake by Wimbledon to do what they did in the first place, kicking out the Russians and Belarusians. I don’t know how they came up with the Belarusians too but that’s a whole other story.
“In my opinion, compounded by the fact that now the ATP and the WTA say there are now no points, I don’t see how that helps the players. If the players really believe that Wimbledon had made a big mistake by not allowing the Russian and Belarusian players to play, in my opinion, they should have boycotted the tournament.”
Henman said he felt “enormous sympathy” for the Russian and Belarusian athletes banned from taking part. However, given the UK government has acted to sanction businesses and individuals from those countries, he said: “Wimbledon organisers can’t say to the government ‘actually, we think we know better than you the government so we’re going to do something different’ – that’s not going to happen, John.”
Wimbledon’s statement in response to the ATP and WTA’s decision to remove ranking points from this year’s event said: “We appreciate that opinions differ in relation to our decision to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to the championships this year, and we deeply regret the impact of this decision on the individuals affected.
“However, given the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia’s global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.”
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