Andrey Rublev discloses Wimbledon phone call with Russian players after tournament ban
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Andrey Rublev has revealed that Russian tennis players had a phone call with Wimbledon after they were officially banned from The Championships over the war in Ukraine. The ATP world No 8 had previously slammed the ban as being “complete discrimination” and has now shared a suggestion he made during the phone call.
Rublev made headlines earlier this year when he wrote “no war please” on a camera at the Dubai Championships and has now given one final statement on the matter after Wimbledon officially banned Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament this year. “I did one statement about the situation and I never [want to] answer the questions again. So, I’m gonna do one more statement and I hope it’s gonna make everything clear,” he told reporters at the Serbia Open in Belgrade, per Ana Mitric.
In his statement, the 24-year-old revealed that he and his fellow Russian players had a phone call with Wimbledon following the announcement, but began his statement with something of an apology. “First of all, I’m not political. I don’t know anything—I’m not reading the news, I’m not following—because I was working hard to play tennis; and that’s my job. I have no education. So, I will try to explain how I feel. Sorry for my language and because I don’t know the smart, educated words—especially on this serious question. So, I will try to speak with more simple words,” he said.
The world No 8 said he didn’t think the ban would “do anything” after opening up on the call had with the tournament, as he explained: “Yesterday, we had a call—a few players and Wimbledon—just to talk about the situation and how maybe we can [find] some solution. To be honest, the reasons that they gave [for the ban]… there is no [sense]. There is no even logic [for what] they propose.
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“And I understand, for example, if they banned us—if they banned Russian players and Belarusian players—and at least it made like a half-percent or something of change or help. But it’s not gonna do anything and it’s not gonna change anything…. Because the thing that’s happening now, it’s completely discrimination [against] us and this is more, I think, what [the British] government are proposing.”
Rublev also shared the alternative solution that the Russian players had proposed to the tournament instead of a ban, explaining that it would result in a “huge, huge” amount of money donated to relief efforts and good PR for Wimbledon. “So, I was trying to explain that maybe if we want really to help… At least, what we proposed to Wimbledon—and I hope that it will make sense and I hope that they will think about it—is to have at least a chance to choose if we want to play or we don’t want to play,” he continued.
“And if there is a statement that we need to sign, on top of that, to give all the prize money to humanitarian help—to the families who are suffering, to the kids who [are] suffering, [we’ll do that]. And I think that move, at least, will do something—at least, that means and it will show that [the British] government is standing for peace, and they really want to do action to help.
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“And I think, if you calculate more or less the amount of money, it can be [depending on how well the players are doing] up to 1 million pounds. And this is a huge, huge [amount of] money that I think in two months not one [other] sport ever donated. So, tennis will be the first and only sport who will donate that amount of money and it will be [through] Wimbledon. So, they will take all the glory, all the respect from everyone—not from us [players], because no one cares about us.”
The 10-time title winner admitted he thought the proposition was the “right” thing to do over a blanket ban on Russian and Belrusian players, as he reiterated his lack of knowledge on the situation. “So, I think this is the right move to maybe to see and to check this,” he summarised.
“In the end of the day, we want to compete; we are not here to talk about politics. Because I have no idea anything about this. In the end of the day, I’m Russian and I was born in Russia and live all my life in Russia. And I just want to show that we are good people…. In my case, I just try to be humble and try to be educated in the right way. So, I hope that’s made everything clear.”
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