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Andy Murray doesn’t expect lack of ranking points to weaken Wimbledon field
Murray felt the ATP and WTA could have negotiated instead of stripping Wimbledon’s ranking points.
Andy Murray expects there to be an “extremely strong field” at Wimbledon this summer but reiterated his belief the decision to take away rankings points was a not a great move.
The three-time grand slam winner was speaking after beginning his grass-court campaign with an impressive 6-2 6-1 victory over Jurij Rodionov in the first round of the Surbiton Trophy on Monday.
It was announced earlier this month by the ATP and WTA that no ranking points would be on offer at Wimbledon after the All England Club announced it would not allow Russian and Belarusian players to enter the Championships due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
A number of players have criticised the decision, while former world number one Naomi Osaka suggested she could skip the third grand slam of the year.
Murray believes a different approach could have been adopted.
“My belief is Wimbledon will go ahead and have an extremely strong player field,” the 35-year-old said.
“Removing the points, if it doesn’t stop players from playing then I don’t think it’s a great move from the ATP because they’ve taken the points away and everyone’s still showing up. I don’t think it’s a great move from that perspective.
“A lot of the players are frustrated and didn’t want that to happen. I think most and the majority of the players – certainly the ones that I’ve spoken to – felt like there should have been some response from the ATP.
“My feeling is that it would have been better to make a move or negotiate something that’s going to be beneficial for the future of the tour. I don’t know, something that would involve having a seat at the table in future grand-slam discussions over rules or prize-money distribution, those sorts of things, which recently that hasn’t been the case.”
It was put to Murray the stance of the ATP could be construed as support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
But he said: “I don’t believe there’s anyone at the ATP that supports what’s happening in Ukraine. I don’t believe that. I think they’re trying to protect the players the best they can and that’s the decision that they’ve taken.
“I can kind of see why they’ve tried to do it and yeah I spoke to the ATP and I spoke to players and just tried to get different opinions. Some players are fine with the decision but I think the majority of them were not.
“I spoke to some of the Russian players in Madrid and yeah, look, I feel for those players as well.
“I like them and I’m friends with them and I don’t believe they’re in favour of what’s happening either, but I appreciate that it’s not that easy for them to talk about it publicly and stuff. I don’t believe that the players are part of that either. It’s a difficult one.”
Away from off-the-court politics, Murray looked in good touch in his first match on grass since his Wimbledon exit to Denis Shapovalov last July.
The Scot, who is currently ranked 67, is set to play at Stuttgart next week and Queen’s Club later in June before his SW19 campaign gets under way.
A string of good results could push Murray into the seeding picture at the All England Club, especially given the absence of Russians like world number two Daniil Medvedev, and his ambitions remain high.
“I don’t know how many matches I would need to win exactly, but if I had a good run at Queen’s or next week that would give me a good chance of (being seeded),” he said.
“I have high expectations for myself and lofty goals and ambitions, which I talk about with my team regularly but I will not share them here. I don’t think there should be lots of expectation on me to do that well but I have trained hard.
“I have prepared well and physically feel good. Grass is my best surface I feel. I have prepared as best I can for it.
“We will find out in a few weeks what the outcome is for it but the thing I can control is not the results and the performances at Wimbledon but I can control my preparation, my attitude on the court and my effort.
“I can guarantee I will give 100 per cent on that side of things to give myself the best chance to have a good run.”