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Russian star Medvedev responds to Wimbledon ban threat

He was reluctant to be drawn on the subject.

Daniil Medvedev (file pic).
Daniil Medvedev (file pic).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

DANIIL MEDVEDEV shrugged off the possibility of being barred from this year’s Wimbledon on Thursday after the status of Russian players at the tournament was called into question by the British government.

British sports minister Nigel Huddleston told a parliamentary hearing last week the government could require Medvedev to provide assurances he did not support Russian President Vladimir Putin before being allowed to compete at Wimbledon.

The move comes amid Russia’s growing sporting isolation on the global stage in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

While the ATP and WTA have allowed Russian players to continue to play at tournaments, Huddleston said he would be uncomfortable with an athlete “flying the flag for Russia” at Wimbledon, adding he had already discussed the issue with the All England Club.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Miami Open on Thursday, Medvedev was reluctant to be drawn on the subject, saying he was taking the season “tournament by tournament.”

“Don’t have any response to Wimbledon,” Medvedev said. “I will need to see what happens next.

“I try to take it tournament by tournament. I mean, there are always different rules, regulations in order to play or not to play.

“Right now I’m here in Miami. I can play and I’m happy to play tennis, the sport I love. I want to promote the sport all over the world. We’ll have tough moments and good moments.

“That’s going to be the same with every tournament. So the next one after this one is Monte-Carlo, you know, where at this moment I’m a resident there, so I love this tournament also. I can play it normally and I’m happy to play it.”

Medvedev has previously stated his desire for ‘peace’ but has not made specific remarks about the war in Ukraine.

“I think everybody knows what’s happening, so it’s basically of course impossible to ignore it,” he said Thursday.

“I always said I’m for peace. I want everybody to be safe, healthy, myself included, other people included, everybody in the world. Sometimes it’s not possible, but, yeah, that’s what I want.”

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Medvedev meanwhile suggested he would accept any sanction applied to Russian players, saying he was prepared for whatever transpired.

“Every country can set their own rules,” he said. “Maybe tomorrow somebody’s gonna announce, I don’t know, that we don’t want any more tennis tournaments.

“Say one country has a Grand Slam, and maybe some other Masters events are gonna say ‘We don’t want any more tennis in our country.’ That’s how life is.

“It’s very tough in life to talk about what is fair and not fair. So I of course do have my own opinions on different topics, but I prefer to speak about them with my family, with my wife, where we can sometimes disagree but we can discuss.

“It’s much easier when you have a dialogue about this.”

– © AFP 2022

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