‘I won’t go to court’: Medvedev moves on after Wimbledon’s ban on Russians
Paris: Star Russian player Daniil Medvedev has officially ruled out any legal action against Wimbledon over the contentious decision by tournament organisers to ban Russian and Belarussian players.
The All-England Club has taken a hard-line stance by targeting individual ATP and WTA players, worried that any success by Russian athletes in London would be “used to support the propaganda machine of the Russian regime”.
Daniil Medvedev of Russia.Credit:Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP
World No.2 and US Open champion Medvedev has already branded as “unfair” the club’s decision to block him and other tennis professionals from entering the grasscourt major following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
There has been strong conjecture that the men’s and women’s tour could withdraw rankings points from Wimbledon, effectively rendering the major an exhibition, even though lucrative prize money would still be offered.
The ATP board has already confirmed that other events in Britain where Russians are also banned, such as Queen’s and Eastbourne, would proceed with normal ranking points.
An aggrieved Medvedev, preparing for Roland Garros – his second event after an injury lay-off, acknowledged that Wimbledon’s decision could be tested in court on discrimination grounds.
“Personally, I didn’t think about this. So that’s the answer,” Medevedev said.
“I’m not a lawyer but, as you say, I guess if you ask a lawyer there is some room to make on this.
“It’s not me taking these decisions. I’m not going to court for this one, and I don’t know what the ATP is going to do.
“I’m waiting for their decision, it’s interesting to see. There’s a lot of rumours going around if they’re going to make a statement [or] not make a statement.
“Personally, I won’t go to court.”
Instead, Medvedev will target other tour events on grass – s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, Halle in Germany and Mallorca in Spain – without Wimbledon action.
“I like grass and I want to continue improving,” said Medvedev. “Usually I play well on grass so I want to make some good results.”
Wimbledon chair Ian Hewitt has previously described the decision as “intensely tough and agonising”.
Allowing entry to players had made written declarations denouncing Russia and President Vladimir Putin was considered, but ultimately rejected.
“And we know they do have a history of using sport to advance their cause, and that is a serious matter for us, and we could not accept Wimbledon being part of,” said Hewitt.
Expectations on highly ranked Medvedev at Roland Garros are modest given he recently had hernia surgery which sidelined him for six weeks and his record on clay is not as strong as other surfaces.
Australian Open champion and 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal said he was not the favourite to triumph again in Paris, conceding his chronic foot injury was continuing to affect him.
“I mean, the pain is there always,” said Nadal.
“It’s not gonna disappear now. It’s about if the pain is high and strong enough to allow me to play with real chances or not.”
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates at a tournament in Italy this month.Credit:Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Nadal was downbeat after last week’s event in Rome, but his predicament has improved.
“I was, yeah, suffering after that for a couple of days, but I feel better … that’s why I’m here,” said the 35-year-old.
“What happened there I think everybody knows, and I talked after the match very open about what’s going on.
“But at the same time I said this is something that can be better in the near future.
“And I hope that’s the case here.”
World No.1 Novak Djokovic holds narrow favouritism, ahead of young gun Carlos Alcaraz, who brings some hot form on clay to Paris.
In the women’s draw, former world No.1 Naomi Osaka has opened up about how she was “very worried” about returning to Roland Garros following last year’s dramatic circumstances when a dispute with organisers about participating in media conferences eventually resulted in her pulling out.
Asked about whether she had put the events “completely out of mind”, Osaka said: “I’m not gonna lie.
“When I first came here, I was very worried. I was just kind of worried if there would be people that like – of course I also didn’t like how I handled the situation, but I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would just kind of bump into them.
“I think like everyone has been really positive, for the most part.
“I was also very worried about this press conference because I knew I’d get a lot of questions about this.
“But yeah, I think for me where I am right now … I wouldn’t want to say it’s like it hasn’t left my mind. Of course I’m still thinking about it.
“For the most part I think I’m OK.”
In the opening round, unseeded Osaka faces a tough match against American Amanda Anisimova, the player who sent her packing in the Australian Open.
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