World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev has revealed he’s still hopeful of competing at this year’s Wimbledon tournament despite a controversial decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 edition due to the invasion of Ukraine.
The 26-year-old US Open champion said he was still hopeful the All England Club would reverse its controversial decision amid pressure from some of the world’s biggest tennis star including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“I don’t know if this decision is 100 per cent and it’s over (for me),” Medvedev said.
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“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.”
Having spent the last six weeks recovering from a hernia operation, the Russian star admitted it was a tricky situation for tennis officials due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the tendency for the Russian state to use sporting achievements as propaganda.
However in a separate interview with Russian news agency Tass, Medvedev said he sometimes finds the decision “unfair”.
“On the one hand, I can understand it (this decision) and, on the other, I find it unfair,” Medvedev said.
“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.”
Over the past week, there have also been suggestions that Wimbledon could be stripped of its ranking points by the ATP and WTA if the ban remains in force, effectively reducing the world’s biggest tournament to an exhibition event.
ATP makes ruling on England tournaments
On that note, the Queen’s and Eastbourne tournaments in England were spared punishment from the ATP this week for banning Russian and Belarusian players.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the All England Club — the host of Wimbledon — in April to bar players from Russia and its war ally Belarus from the coming British grass-court season.
The ATP and WTA objected at the time.
On Monday, the ATP said “Queen’s and Eastbourne will proceed as normal, offering full ATP ranking points.”
The governing body of the men’s tour added it consulted with its player and tournament councils. The likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were against the ban, while Sergiy Stakhovsky, the retired Ukraine Davis Cup player who joined the military when the war started, supported it.
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“LTA’s 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,” it said in a statement.
“Sanctions related to LTA’s violation of ATP rules will now be assessed separately under ATP governance. ATP’s response to Wimbledon’s decision remains under review, with more to be communicated in due course.”
The LTA said it welcomed the ATP decision.
“Based on the international condemnation of Russia’s war on Ukraine and the UK government’s guidance we believe we have taken the right decision in these difficult circumstances,” the LTA said in a statement.
“We are aware of the impact on individual Russian and Belarusian players, however the need for them to sign a declaration (condemning the invasion) meant that entry to the events would never have rested solely on merit. We will continue to engage with the ATP and their processes over the coming weeks.”
The WTA has yet to respond to the bans.
– With agencies