Wimbledon: Martina Navratilova ‘devastated’ by ban
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John McEnroe has argued the decision to not award ranking points at Wimbledon “makes no sense” and described the situation as “lose-lose”. The tournament opted to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing this year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and in support of the players affected, the ATP and WTA opted to strip the Grand Slam of ranking points.
“I disagreed with the All England Club not allowing the Russians and Belorussians to play,” McEnroe told reporters. “And I disagree with the ATP and the WTA about not giving points for the tournament. “I know it’s a horrific situation. It seemed like a lose-lose decision when they made it.
“Then you take away the points. Let’s say if [Novak] Djokovic wins the tournament again, he’s going to drop even further in the rankings, which makes no sense.”
“There’s not a lot of good decisions. But if you notice, in other sports and in other tournaments, they’re allowing the Russians to play. I don’t get why at Wimbledon it was decided that they’re not allowed to play. That’s where we’re going to make a stand.
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“You’re asking them to denounce something where they’re afraid if they do so that their family, friends or relatives could get arrested or thrown in prison for 15 years. So that seemed like something you can’t possibly ask the players to do.”
There have been concerns that stripping the tournament of ranking points could lead to some players putting in less effort or not even competing at Wimbledon. Before she withdrew due to an Achilles injury, Naomi Osaka claimed the decision was affecting her mentality going into grass court events and she was not sure whether she would take part.
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“I don’t believe it’s going to affect too many players at the tournament,” McEnroe added. “It is Wimbledon, after all. It’s one of, if not the biggest tournament we have. To me it’s always been the US Open and Wimbledon are the biggest events.
“It’s just a damn shame that it’s come to this, especially when you notice that [Daniil] Medvedev is ranked No 1 right now, of all things. You have another player, Andrey Rublev, who is seven or eight in the world.
“You have a third guy who reached the quarters last year, [Karen] Khachanov. You have two Belorussians in the top 15, I think. It’s very unfortunate it’s come to this. I was hoping something would change before, but it hasn’t. I don’t know what’s going to happen as far as what they’re going to do with the points. I don’t know how they’re going to figure that out, I really don’t.”
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