If there is anybody playing Wimbledon just to gain computer ranking points, if that’s truly what motivates them, then they are playing the wrong sport and with the wrong attitude.
I find it bewildering Naomi Osaka or any other player in the draw would refer to the championship at Wimbledon as an exhibition event.
Some in the media have also fallen squarely into this trap, joining some players in what looks to me like a squalid game of self-preservation motivated by self-interest.
If you are only saying what your editor wants to hear then you are compromised as a journalist. If you are only playing to go up a few places in the rankings, you’re not likely to be enjoying your career.
The decision by the ATP, the WTA and the ITF governing bodies to withdraw ranking points from Wimbledon in response to the tournament barring Russian and Belarusian players is short-sighted and should be condemned by any observer that can see life and death outside of their little bubble.
Wimbledon is not perfect — and I only speak for myself despite being a member of the club — but in this instance a moral and principled stand has been taken in the face of unspeakable savagery and military aggression.
That the ATP and WTA should only have vision to the end of their noses is shameful. They talk in reverential tones about the integrity of their ranking system while the bodies of men, women and children are being exhumed from shallow graves.
They talk of unfairness to richly rewarded and vastly heralded sporting celebrities while the president of Russia deports innocent civilians away from their homes in scenes eerily reminiscent of the Holocaust.
Where is there any sign beyond watery words of real action being taken against a barbarous regime that threatens all of us?
Why does the ATP and WTA think the likes of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Apple, McDonalds and M&S have all ceased business in Russia?
It is surely to get the message to the Russian people about the horror being perpetrated in their name.
Mr Putin wants sporting success, why else would he have spent $50billion hosting the Sochi Winter Olympics? You can take the flag from behind the names of Russian and Belarusian players but they remain representatives of those nations.
And consider the sports that have banned Russian teams and individuals. Ice skating, skiing, athletics, hockey, volleyball, basketball and football have all followed IOC advice that no Russians or representative teams should participate in international competition.
No doubt this is unfair and discriminatory towards individual sportsmen and women but the most urgent priority now is to act with unity in the face of an existential threat.
As a former member of the ATP player council and as a former ATP player, I am shocked at the way they have failed to represent their membership accurately.
Can the players’ councils on the men’s or women’s sides say they have truly canvassed the opinions of their constituents? It sounds to me they have not done so on this critical issue.
Ultimately, could any of these people who have caused a substantial rift in the game look our Ukrainian house guest Iulia in the eye and say they have done their bit in response to the obliteration of her country and the murder of friends and acquaintances?
Perhaps we should ask someone in Mariupol or Kharkiv or the Kyiv suburb of Bucha or anyone in the Donbas area whether they give a damn about ranking points for a tennis tournament.
As for the ITF, how proud do you think it should be of itself for taking ranking points away from wheelchair competitors and the juniors too? It beggars belief.
On top of all this Novak Djokovic, who is on the player council and thinks the points decision is correct and above board, could successfully defend his Wimbledon title but lose the 2,000 points he won a year earlier and as a result see Russia’s Daniil Medvedev become world No.1 without hitting a ball.
The whole situation is absurd. And here’s a question for you: What other effects will the points withdrawal at Wimbledon have?
Will every player who is two sets down in a best-of-five contest fight like their life is on the line? Will they sacrifice their bodies and push to the very limit to earn more money and a crack at the title? I really don’t know if they all will in the early rounds.
Then again, as the tournament progresses, they surely will because Andy Murray was spot on with what he said in a heartfelt contradiction of Osaka’s comments — Wimbledon is not an exhibition event and never will be.
Unwell Evans heads for the exit
Dan Evans was unable to join Cameron Norrie in the third round of the French Open, the British No.2 looking really out of sorts in Paris last night as he fell to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 defeat to Swedish world No.95 Mikael Ymer.
Evans, the 29th seed, had the doctor on court after the third set and said afterwards he had been ill for the last week with a chest infection.
Despite battling back well to level the match, Ymer was in the end a pretty comfortable winner.
Reasons to be upbeat about Emma despite French lesson
The international education of Emma Raducanu continues after the Briton lost in three sets at the French Open to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the world No.47 from Belarus.
Raducanu’s performance in the first set was as well as she has played since last September’s US Open victory.
Her world ranking of 12th may drop after Wimbledon and it will hurt her especially if she then loses early as she defends her title in New York.
Raducanu will have a target on her back and will play higher-ranked players earlier in tournaments but give her time, she will be fine — although who knows whether or not she will ever win another grand slam.
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