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Andy Murray defends Wimbledon amid 'exhibition tournament' claims

Murray has dismissed claims from players including Naomi Osaka and Cam Norrie.

Andy Murray defends Wimbledon amid ‘exhibition’ claims Getty Images
Murray: Defending Wimbledon amid 'exhibition' claims.

Andy Murray has dismissed claims that this year’s Wimbledon will be nothing more than an exhibition tournament.

The claims were made by a host of players including Naomi Osaka and current British number one Cam Norrie after it was revealed that the flagship tournament held in London had been stripped of ranking points after banning Russian competitors.

But Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion and former world number one, has made comparisons with the World Cup and The Masters golf tournament.

The 35-year-old, who has previously criticised the decision to ban Russian players such as Daniil Medvedev and Daria Kasatkina from the courts, took to social media to suggest that fans won’t care as much about ranking points as the players do.

He said: “I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of the 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.

“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.”

When the Russian players were officially banned from playing at Wimbledon Murray said he was “not supportive” of the decision and insisted it could put the players and their families “at risk”.

Wimbledon officials reiterated their position last month, saying that a directive from the Government regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine had left them with no viable alternative but to refuse entries from players from the two countries.

Murray, who is donating all of his prize money this season to humanitarian relief in Ukraine, said the guidance from the Government “was not helpful”.

After the decision was made a host of top players at the French Open suggested they could potentially miss this summer’s tournament as a result.

After a first round defeat at Rolland-Garros, four-time grand slam winner Osaka said she is leaning towards not competing at Wimbledon in light of the WTA’s decision.

She said: “I’m not sure why, but If I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition.

“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.”

Wimbledon is the oldest and one of the most prestigious tournaments in tennis with £35m worth of prize money for competitors.

This year’s edition will start on Monday, June 27, and the final matches will be held on the weekend of July 9 and 10.