Wimbledon situation ‘lose-lose’ right now, says McEnroe | Tennis News

BETTING: Tennis great John McEnroe says Wimbledon was wrong to ban Russian and Belarus players after Moscow invaded Ukraine, but wishes the sport’s governing bodies hadn’t retaliated by denying the Ranking Points Grand Slam.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which organizes the grass-court major, has decided to ban players from both countries for this year’s championships due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.
Belarus was a key stage for the invasion.
The AELTC’s decision has been called “discriminatory” by the men’s ATP and women’s WTA and in response they removed the ranking points for next month’s tournament.
Banning Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s championships was the only viable option under guidelines provided by the UK government, the AELTC said last month.
McEnroe, who has won three of his seven Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, said there was no winner in the fight.
“It was a mistake (to ban Russian and Belarusian players). I know it’s a very horrible, delicate and terrible situation, obviously, in Ukraine,” the 63-year-old told Reuters.
“And nobody else made that decision. I think there was something with the government? I don’t know exactly. I wish that wasn’t what they did. And I wish that the ATP and the WTA have not decided it, say at the moment no points.
“It’s like a loser-loser right now. Tennis players, we’re like a brotherhood. We travel the world. And even though we speak different languages, there’s a connection. It’s like a family. And we need to support each other.
“It’s hard to see some of our best players not playing because of something they have nothing to do with. So hopefully that’s resolved. I don’t know. But it’s a bad situation.”
The Wimbledon ban excludes Russian men’s world number two and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev from participating in the June 27-July 10 tournament.
Belarusians Aryna Sabalenka, ranked seventh, and former world number one and two-time big winner Victoria Azarenka will also be absent.
Ranking points determine a player’s ability to compete in tennis events and receive seeds, so removing them from Wimbledon effectively reduces the event to an exhibition tournament.
Players will also not be able to defend the points they earned last year at Wimbledon and will drop in the rankings.
Japan’s four-time Major champion Naomi Osaka said last week she was “not 100% sure” of playing Wimbledon without the ranking points.
“I see all players going to Wimbledon, but it depends on the individual,” added Eurosport tennis pundit McEnroe.
“The fact that there are no points, I don’t agree with that, but I don’t think that will stop people, players, from going to Wimbledon.
“We’ll find out in a few weeks, but I think all the top players who believe they can do well there will keep playing.”

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