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John McEnroe and Tim Henman clash over Wimbledon ban on Russian players

Tennis icons John McEnroe squared off in an awkward live television debate over Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from its tournament this summer, after the ATP and WTA stripped him of his ranking points following the controversial measure.

Wimbledon will now effectively be an exhibition and there has been a suggestion that players could skip the competition altogether.

The All-England club has backed the UK government in condemning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, saying it has “carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to players, our community and the UK public at large.” as British.” sports institution.

McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, said tournament organizers made a “mistake” during an appearance on Eurosport and “hounded” fellow expert Henman, the former British No. 1, for defending his decision and claiming players could end up boycotting it.

“I am going to go after Mr Henman because I think it was a mistake for Wimbledon to do what they did in the first place, to kick out the Russians and Belarusians,” he said.

‘I don’t know how the Belarusians came up with it too, but that’s another story. In my opinion, compounded by the fact that now the ATP and WTA say there are no points now, I don’t see how that helps the players.

John McEnroe was involved in a heated debate with Tim Henman over Wimbledon

The former British number 1 had sympathized with his decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players.

John McEnroe and Tim Henman engaged in an awkward television debate over Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from its tournament.

American tennis icon McEnroe said they committed

American tennis icon McEnroe said they made “a mistake” and suggested players could end up boycotting the summer tournament.

Wimbledon has been stripped of its WTA and ATP ranking points after the move.

Wimbledon has been stripped of its WTA and ATP ranking points after the move.

“If the players really believe that Wimbledon made a big mistake by not allowing Russian and Belarusian players to play, in my opinion they should have boycotted the tournament.”

He then added: ‘By the way, Mr. Henman, we could share in the players’ winnings. How about 50/50 with the All-England club now that we’re on the subject of that?

Henman chuckled and said there were “no winners” from the Wimbledon decision and admitted he had sympathy for the Russian and Belarusian players but said it was unrealistic to expect officials to go against the government given its strict stance on Russia.

After McEnroe said that

After McEnroe said he would “go after Henman”, the former British No. 1 said it was unrealistic not to expect Wimbledon to support the government.

Henman admitted that it was a

Henman admitted it was a “win-win situation” but stressed that he sympathized with the Russian and Belarusian players for falling victim to UK sanctions on Russia.

“The reality of the situation is that there are no winners and I have enormous sympathy for the Russian and Belarusian players who cannot play,” he said in response.

“When you go through the circumstances presented at Wimbledon, the government directive is that players cannot play as neutral athletes, like on tour at the moment.

“So the question instead is if Wimbledon is expected to change, given its status in the UK, and tell the government that we actually think we know better, then will we do something different?

Wimbledon is not going to jeopardize the safety of its players or their families, and that’s before we talk about the propaganda of a Russian or Belarusian player receiving the trophy on Center Court potentially in the second week.

Other tournaments allow Russian players like Daniil Medvedev (above) to play in

Other tournaments allow Russian players like Daniil Medvedev (above) to play in

“The first two options are horrible and the third option is not to invite Russian and Belarusian players and that’s not very fun.”

McEnroe concluded the chat by adding, “It seems like everyone loses.”

Earlier this month, Wimbledon made its case by announcing a ban on Russian and Belarusian players.

He said in a statement: “We share the universal condemnation of Russia’s illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the wider UK public as a British sporting institution.” .

“If circumstances materially change between now and June, we will consider it and respond accordingly.”

But the ATP said it would “set a damaging precedent for the rest of the tour” and also criticized the way Wimbledon bowed to government pressure and the way Wimbledon acted “in isolation”.

Novak Djokovic won last year's men's singles tournament, beating Matteo Berrettini in the final.

Novak Djokovic won last year’s men’s singles tournament, beating Matteo Berrettini in the final.

“Unilateral decisions of this nature, if not addressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour,” the organization said. ‘Discrimination for individual tournaments is simply not feasible on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries.

“We noted that this was informal guidance, not mandate, that offered an alternative option that would have left the decision up to individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed statement. Our internal discussions with the affected players, in fact, led us to conclude that this would have been a more enjoyable option for the Tour.”

Players will now lose their 2021 points, so Novak Djokovic will not have a chance to defend the 2000 he earned twelve months ago. Unsurprisingly, the UK pre-Wimbledon events didn’t get the same treatment.

Wimbledon responded by expressing its ‘deep disappointment’, adding: ‘We believe these decisions are disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation. We remain unwilling to accept that success at Wimbledon is used to benefit the Russian regime’s propaganda machine.”

Several players have raised concerns about playing in what is effectively an exhibition tournament, and Naomi Osaka has already admitted she might skip it.

Several tennis stars have questioned his participation in Wimbledon after it was reduced to an exhibition.

Several tennis stars have questioned his participation in Wimbledon after it was reduced to an exhibition.

“I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going to go,” she said.

“I’d love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, it’s like, I don’t want to say nonsense, no pun intended, but I’m the kind of player who gets motivated to see my ranking go up.

I feel like if I play Wimbledon with no points, it’s more of an exhibition. I know this is not true, but my brain feels like this. When I think of something as an exhibition, I just can’t do it 100 percent.”

World No. 1 star Novak Djokovic objected to the Wimbledon decision, saying he could not support it, even though the ATP’s call to take points from them threatens his status at the top.

“They haven’t discussed it with anyone from the ATP or any individual player, or, for that matter, Russian or Belarusian players, just to communicate and understand if there is common ground where both sides could come to a compromise and something could function”. out’, Djokovic said of the All England Club. So I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all.

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