Andy Murray voices opinion on ATP decision to remove ranking points from Wimbledon

Andy Murray

By Andy Sims
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 3:35 pm

The double Wimbledon champion had played in the ATP Challenger Tour event back in 2004 but a lot has happened in the ensuing 18 years.

It was the 35-year-old's first match on grass since his All England Club exit to Denis Shapovalov last July and while last summer he was only able to play five matches on the surface, the Surbiton Trophy is set to be one of three tournaments he plays in ahead of this year's trip to SW19.

A two-hour delay to proceedings occurred due to rain but when the light shower eased off, the crowd were treated to some vintage Murray tennis with an array of winners, drop shots and trademark 'come on' shouts in 58 minutes of play.

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Andy Murray in action during his round of 32 singles match on day two of the Surbiton Trophy at Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club.

He had elected to skip the French Open to begin his preparations for Wimbledon early and received a rousing reception from those inside the 604-seater Centre Court.

It did not take long for the Scot to make his mark with an ace first up and Murray was able to break Rodionov in the fourth game after a superb crosscourt winner.

In his first match in almost four weeks, the three-time grand slam winner showed no signs of rustiness and clinched a second break soon after to wrap up the first set in 28 minutes.

An important hold by Murray in the fifth game of the second set from deuce maintained his advantage and, with the heavens ready to open again, a crucial second break went his way before he served out for the match.

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.

"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. A lot of the players are frustrated and didn't want that to happen.”

"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."

Meanwhile, Emma Raducanu will make her first competitive appearance in England since her US Open triumph, at Nottingham next week.