Daniil Medvedev has not given up hope of playing at Wimbledon next month after questioning the legality of the All England Club’s “unfair” position.
The world No.2 broke his silence on the toxic row surrounding the club’s decision to block Russian and Belarusians from entering the tournament over the invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking about his ban ahead of his return to action following a hernia operation that has sidelined him for the past six weeks, Medvedev said in comments reported by Russia’s state-affiliated news agency TASS: “On the one hand, I can understand it and, on the other, I find it unfair.
“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.”
Expressing hope of an about-turn by the All England Club during a media conference ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev said: “I don’t know if this decision is 100 per cent and it’s over. If I can play, I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament. If I cannot play, well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”
World No.2 Daniil Medvedev is mobbed by fans after training in the lead-up to the Geneva Open.Credit:Keystone via AP
The general feeling in the locker-room has been sympathetic to Medvedev. Last week, the ATP player council – which includes two of the sport’s biggest names in Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – recommended that rankings points should be stripped from Wimbledon, Queen’s and Eastbourne in retribution for the British ban.
But the players’ advice seems unlikely to be acted upon. The ATP released a statement yesterday in which it criticised the ban without applying strong sanctions.
“This season’s ATP Tour events in Queen’s and Eastbourne will proceed as normal, offering full ATP rankings points,” said the statement, before adding that the “decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes is however contrary to ATP rules and undermines the ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination – a fundamental principle of the ATP Tour.”
A fine will almost certainly be levied on the LTA for breaching the tour’s rules, although the size of the penalty has yet to be decided. It is also theoretically possible that Wimbledon’s rankings points could yet be removed. The ATP’s response to the All England Club is not expected until later this week.
Speaking on Monday, Tim Henman – the former world No.4 who is also an All England Club committee member – said that the tours would be “shooting themselves in the foot” if they removed or reduced the rankings points on offer at Wimbledon.
“I mean, it’s difficult then for the other 95 per cent [who aren’t Russian or Belarusian], isn’t it?” he said.
Asked how serious such a scenario would be for Wimbledon, Henman replied: “I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much prefer if those points were there. But given the given the stature of the event, and the history, and everything that goes with it, and obviously the amount of prizemoney on offer, it’s not going to detract from the players giving 100 per cent to try and win.”
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