Andy Murray has appeared to take a swipe at Naomi Osaka and anyone else who thinks Wimbledon will just be ‘an exhibition’ this year.
The Championships have been stripped of their rankings points this season by the ATP and WTA in response to the decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus from playing.
While the likes of Novak Djokovic has said he will play regardless of that for the prestige and history attached to the tournament, Osaka and others have suggested they will not compete without the reward of ranking points.
Murray, though, has come out strongly in defence of Wimbledon.
“I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of the The Masters gets,” Andy Murray said on Twitter.
“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 Wimbledon in a few weeks time wouldn’t know or care about how many ranking points a player gets for winning a third 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.”
Osaka, who has never got past the third round at Wimbledon during her career, made her controversial comments after losing in the first round of the French Open.
“I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition,” Osaka told reporters.
“I know this isn’t true, right? But my brain just like feels that way. Whenever I think like something is like an exhibition, 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.”
Osaka has also been criticised by legend Martina Navratilova, who said: “I just don’t understand her mentality.
“I would like to sit down and tell her about the history of Wimbledon. It would not have even occurred to Osaka not to play if the ranking points hadn’t been taken away.”
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