Martina Navratilova has suggested players have their priorities wrong if they are putting a lack of ranking points ahead of the prestige of winning Wimbledon.
The ATP and WTA Tours have removed points from the grass court Grand Slam, after the All England Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Navratilova, a nine-time singles champion at Wimbledon and an 11-time winner across women’s and mixed doubles, says everything should be secondary to lifting the trophy.
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"First of all, I couldn't care less if there were no points given," Navratilova told TalkTV.
“I always played for the trophies, not the points and not the money. So for me it was Wimbledon and nothing else, everything else came in second.
“So the points, it’s not an exhibition. I don’t understand that view, that players wouldn’t play because there are no points. You are playing for computer ranking? I just wanted to hold that trophy, that wonderful rose dish.”
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Navratilova does sympathise with players who will miss the event, citing Andrey Rublev for publicly calling for peace but being unable to compete at Wimbledon - though he has stopped short of criticising Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
“There is no good way out of it. It’s a bad situation. A horrible situation with the war and a bad situation with Wimbledon making this rule and now another iffy decision, not giving the points.”
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Osaka admitted after losing her opening match at the French Open that she may now skip the grass-court Slam.
“I would love to go to get some experience on the grass court," said Osaka. "But I’m the type of player who gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up.”
She supported her answer to another question in Japanese, saying: "I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points it’ll be more like an exhibition.
"I know this isn’t true, but my brain just feels like that way and whenever I think of something like an exhibition I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.
“I didn’t even make my decision yet but I’m leaning more towards not playing given the current circumstances. That might change but I do want to get more experience on the grass and I know that the Berlin tournament is giving out points.”
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