GENEVA – Watching the latest news from Ukraine is “very disturbing”, it is a second-ranked tennis player Daniel Medvedev He said Sunday about the war that prompted Wimbledon organizers to ban him and other Russians from participating in the tournament.
The US Open champion spoke at the Geneva Open, returning to play after a five-week absence from the ATP tour after having surgery for a hernia.
“I had some time to follow what is happening, yes, it is very disturbing,” Medvedev said when asked if he could closely monitor the conflict in Ukraine while not playing.
Medvedev said in February after Russia invaded Ukraine that he was “all for peace”.
While most Olympic sports banned Russian teams and athletes from international events, tennis allowed players to continue competing as individuals rather than as representatives of their country.
Wimbledon organizers went even further, announcing three weeks ago, with the support of the UK government, a decision to impose a ban and “limit Russia’s global influence by the strongest possible means”.
They said that could change “if conditions change materially” in the war before the tournament kicks off on June 27.
“I don’t know if that decision was like 100% and it’s over” for him at Wimbledon, Medvedev said in Geneva, where he reached the last 16 last year.
“If I could play, I would be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament,” he said.
Medvedev appeared relaxed and often smiling in his 16-minute press conference, speaking in English and French, and made his point when asked about the support he had from other players.
“I, personally in life, try to respect every opinion because every human life is different,” he said. “I showed a tennis ball to 100 people, I’m sure some of them would say it’s green and not yellow.
“I think it’s yellow. If someone told me it was green, I wouldn’t conflict, you know, with that person.”
The tournament will be his main preparation for the French Open, which starts next Sunday. Until last year reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, 26-year-old Medvedev had not made it past the first round.
“It wasn’t easy for me to get started right away on clay [well]“Even one tournament would be good to prepare,” he said. “I feel good physically.”
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