Russian tennis star sends message to UK Government after Medvedev Wimbledon ban threat

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Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev said players from his home country and Belarus should still be allowed to compete at tournaments amid the invasion of Ukraine.

As a result of the war, Russian and Belarusian tennis players are not allowed to compete under their country’s name or flag while also being banned from team competition. Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon recently insisted players should not be banned from tournaments because of politics.

Nigel Huddleston, the United Kingdom’s government’s sport, tourism and heritage minister, announced he will look for ‘assurance’ from Daniil Medvedev and his compatriots that they do not support Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves. The government is reportedly in talks with the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to determine their stance ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on June 27.

Rublev advanced to the semi-finals of Indian Wells after a 7-5 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov on Friday. The world number seven – who wrote ‘no war please’ on a camera lens after his semi-final win at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February – believes sports and politics should not be mixed.

“Talking about the British government, it’s Iike I said, I think we should show a great example that tennis should be outside of politics,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “Not tennis, but in general sport. We’re athletes. We want to compete. We were sacrificing so many things.

“We don’t see our family. Many of the athletes, they change home because of the conditions of the sport, they’re doing basketball, football. If you go from one team to another, you move completely, stuff like that.

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“I think that’s the most important thing, that we were sacrificing a lot just to be able to compete, to show that we want to do our job, that’s it. I think sport should be outside of politics because everyone say this, but in the end looks like still it’s not happening.

“That’s why I hope that in sport they will show there is no politics and we will be a good example to have a huge step forward.”

Rublev initially received a number of negative messages when Russia declared war on Ukraine, but he also revealed he has been sent plenty of positive comments. Fans and figures have supported him in advocating his anti-war stance.

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“In the beginning, before I wrote this on camera, I was receiving many like bad messages,” Rublev added. “When everything starts, happen in the world, I start to receive many bad messages.

“I don’t know. I didn’t even – how you say? I was not even thinking how many people will see this or where it will go or something. I just wrote what I feel in that moment. That’s it. After this, somehow it gets over 22 million views.

“I think I was one of the first sportsmen in the world who say this. In the end, yeah, all the messages I start to receive, almost 100%, all of them were only positive, like, Thank you, stuff like that.”



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