Daniil Medvedev holding out hope ‘unfair’ Wimbledon ban is overturned

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Daniil Medvedev is hopeful he will yet be permitted to play at Wimbledon this year  (AFP via Getty Images)
Daniil Medvedev is hopeful he will yet be permitted to play at Wimbledon this year (AFP via Getty Images)

Daniil Medvedev is hopeful that the “unfair” ban on Russian and Belarusian players at Wimbledon will be lifted, believing it could set an “uncomfortable” precedent.

The organisers of the tournament at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) announced in April that they would not allow players from Russia and Belarus to play after the invasion of Ukraine.

The ATP Player Council has subsequently called for Wimbledon to be stripped of ranking points if the ban remains in place.

While Medvedev admits he “can understand” why the step was taken, the 2021 US Open winner thinks a “delicate situation” must be handled carefully.

The 26-year-old fears that Wimbledon may be looked at as an example and lead to further exclusion of Russians and Belarusians.

“On the one hand, I can understand it and, on the other, I find it unfair,” Medvedev told Tribune de Geneve. “This is a delicate situation because it sets a precedent and puts other sports competitions in an uncomfortable position.

“Where is the line? What are the rules that should lead to a possible exclusion? For having discussed it with the ATP, we are, us tennis players, considered in terms of law as independent workers.

“But currently in the United Kingdom, self-employed Russians have the right to work. So, if I have the opportunity to play at Wimbledon, I would be delighted. If not, I would accept it.”

Russia escalated its conflict with Ukraine on 24 February, launching a large-scale invasion at the direction of president Vladimir Putin.

Part of the invasion was staged from Belarus, a country led by president Alexander Lukashenko - a close ally of Putin.

Under ATP and WTA rules, players from the two nations are permitted to compete under a neutral flag.

Medvedev, who is the top seed at the Geneva Open, would still like to play at the year’s third major, but suggested he will not be “in conflict” with those who have a differing view on his participation.

“I don’t know if this decision is 100 per cent and it’s over,” the world number two explained. “If I can play, I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.

“If I cannot play [at Wimbledon], well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.

“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.

“You show a tennis ball to 100 people, I’m sure some of them are going to say it’s green and not yellow. I think it’s yellow. If somebody tells me it’s green, I’m not going to get in conflict with this person.”