Wimbledon: Martina Navratilova ‘devastated’ by ban
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Daniil Medvedev has broken his silence on the controversial decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at Wimbledon this summer. In April, the All English Tennis Club confirmed the measure amid the harrowing war in Ukraine, following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade his neighbouring country on February 24.
The announcement proved divisive, with Novak Djokovic among a host of current stars to speak up in support of those banned. The legendary Martina Navratilova also said she was “devastated” by the extreme measure.
Russian player Andrey Rublev also voiced his anger at the “illogical” ban, claiming that a better solution would have been to donate prize money won by players from both excluded nations to the Ukraine. Regardless, bosses at SW19 have held firm, despite a warning hat they may face legal action.
The ruling is set to rob the tournament of one of its biggest attractions in Medvedev. The 26-year-old won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last September, and recently became the World No.1 before promptly losing that status back to Djokovic.
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He will return from hernia surgery to play the Geneva Open this month before attempting to compete at the French Open, but has conceded the Wimbledon situation remains out of his hands: “I tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” he said.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion. [When] 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. [But] if somebody tells me it’s green, I’m not going to get in conflict with this person.”
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He added: “I don’t know if this decision is 100% and it’s over,” he said. “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.”
Medvedev’s best effort at Wimbledon thus far came in 2021, when he reached the fourth round. There, he lost a rain-plagued clash with Hubert Hurkacz.
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