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Henman and McEnroe clash in heated debate over Wimbledon ranking points row

The saga over the 2022 Wimbledon Championships has proved explosive, not least of all among tennis pundits with Tim Henman and John McEnroe arguing over the matter

McEnroe labelled the decision of Wimbledon bosses a ‘mistake’

Tennis pundits Tim Henman and John McEnroe were involved in an on-air TV row over the controversy that continues to engulf the 2022 Wimbledon Championships.

The saga kicked off last month when tournament bosses announced that Russian and Belarusian players would be banned from competing at SW19 this summer, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It prompted a furious backlash from authorities and players alike, with Novak Djokovic one notable vociferous critic of the All England Tennis Club.

This week, the ATP and WTA reacted by stripping the iconic tournament of its ranking points. The sanction has now led to fears of a boycott, with Naomi Osaka stating she will struggle for motivation in what was now an ‘exhibition’ event.

Andy Murray disagreed wish Osaka as he shared his opinion on social media, arguing that fans will not care about ranking points when seeing a player crowned champion on Centre Court. McEnroe, however, is among those to take aim at SW19 chiefs, labelling their decision a “mistake.”

“I think it was a mistake by Wimbledon to do what they did, and it’s compounded by the fact the ATP and the WTA say there are no points,” he said, while working for Eurosport at the French Open. The American then argued that other players should have boycotted the event if they believed Wimbledon was in the wrong.

Henman, who is on the Wimbledon board, fired back: “The reality of this situation for the players, for the Championships, for the tours, you know there’s no winners. And I feel enormous sympathy for the Russian and Belarusian players that cannot play.

Henman believes the government left organisers at SW19 with little choice
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Image:

Eurosport / Twitter)

“But when you go through the circumstances that are presented for Wimbledon, the directive from the Government is that the players are not allowed to play as neutrals athletes. So the question in return is can Wimbledon turn around and say ‘we think we know better than the Government’ and do something different? That’s not going to happen John.”

Henman continued: “Are you going to get the players to sign a declaration against the government in Russian against the Government, and against the war, and the regime?”

One thing the pair did agree on was that the situation was unhealthy for everyone involved. Henman said there were “horrific decisions everywhere you turn,” while McEnroe conceded: “It sounds like a lose-lose situation for everybody.”

Previously, Henman had disagreed with Osaka’s words by saying he didn’t think top players would skip the Championships : “A Wimbledon title is going to be about a lot more than the ranking points,” he argued.

“It’s a difficult situation. Hopefully the history and the prestige is going to be at the forefront of players’ minds so they are going to be ready and raring to compete on the grass.”

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