The Championships at Wimbledon began on Monday without the top-ranked men’s player, who was banned from the contest for being Russian.
The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, which manages Wimbledon, declared in April, according to Breitbart, that it would ban Russian players from participating in the tournament. The ban came as a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Daniil Medvedev, a Russian tennis player who is ranked No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals, hasn’t said much about the ongoing war in Ukraine.
In May, the 26-year-old Medvedev called the war ”very upsetting” and mourned the possibility he would be denied the opportunity to play.
”I don’t know if this decision is like 100 percent and it’s over. … If I can play, I’m going to be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament,” Medvedev said at the time.
But Andrey Rublev, a Russian player who is ranked No. 8, has been more vocal about his government’s actions. In February, while playing at the Dubai Championships, Rublev wrote ”no war please” on a camera lens after winning his quarterfinal match.
”In these moments,” Rublev said, ”you realize that my match is not important. It’s not about my match, how it affects me. What’s happening is much more terrible.”
Rublev has since condemned the ban on his participation due to his Russian citizenship as ”complete discrimination.”
”Banning Russian or Belarusian players … will not change anything,” Rublev argued. Instead, he suggested the tournament’s prize money should be given to Ukraine as humanitarian aid.
While the tournament has not addressed Rublev’s suggestion, it did, however, give away 1,000 tickets to Ukrainian refugees so they could watch tennis matches.
With Wimbledon’s decision proving unpopular, other male tennis players, such as No. 3-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia, called the banning of players based on their citizenship ”crazy.”
”I will always condemn war,” Djokovic told reporters in April while referencing his childhood in postwar Serbia, ”I will never support war, being myself a child of war. I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia, we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans, we have had many wars in recent history. However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy.”
”When politics interferes … with sport,” Djokovic added, ”the result is not good.”