Andy Murray: ‘Wimbledon will never feel like an exhibition’

Andy Murray speaks at Wimbledon after his third-round defeat in 2021

Andy Murray defended Wimbledon’s status on Wednesday and insisted the grand slam “will never feel like an exhibition” despite losing its ranking points.

The ATP and WTA announced that Wimbledon would be stripped of its ranking points last week after the All England Lawn Tennis Club refused to change its stance on banning Russian and Belarusian players from competing this summer.

Naomi Osaka became the most high-profile player to admit she was now considering skipping the grass-court season as Wimbledon would be “like an exhibition”.

Other players like Karolina Pliskova labelled the situation “bad and unfair” as she faces being unable to defend the points she earned by reaching last year’s final and is therefore likely to drop several places in the world rankings.

However, in a thread on Twitter, Murray insisted that Wimbledon’s credibility this summer won’t be tarnished by the decision and that the winners will be remembered as grand slam champions and not because of their rankings.

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“I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of The Masters gets,” Murray wrote. “Me and my friends love football and none of us know or care how many ranking points a team gets for winning the World Cup.

“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.”

Denis Shapovalov said the lack of ranking points at Wimbledon, where he reached the semi-final last year, had hindered him during his surprise defeat in the French Open first round.

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“I think it’s a little bit added pressure on me, knowing that losing a lot of points and not able to defend,” said Shapovalov.

“I knew going into this tournament over the last couple days that it’s going to be very important for me to go deep here, otherwise it’s going to be a while until I can gain some points in New York. But I’m not trying to give an excuse or something. I just need to be better.”

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