World No 1 Daniil Medvedev snubs the men’s Wimbledon final as he posts a video of himself watching Formula One’s Austrian Grand Prix instead – and showing off his trophies – after he and other Russian tennis stars were banned due to the war in Ukraine
- Daniil Medvedev was among the Russian players banned from Wimbledon
- He has remained largely quiet on the sanctions handed down by Wimbledon
- However he posted a cheeky video during the men’s final on Sunday
- It showed that no matter what, he will end up on top once the dust has settled
Tennis’ world No 1 Daniil Medvedev took a swipe at Wimbledon officials on Sunday by watching Formula One instead of the men’s final, having been banned from competing at the tournament.
Concerns over the prospect of the Russian star winning at SW19 – one of sport’s most iconic tournaments – with members of the Royal family in attendance on Centre Court was one of the key reasons that the nation’s players were stopped from playing back in April.
Wimbledon chiefs banned all players from Russia and Belarus from this summer’s Championships in light of the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine, with Medvedev taking aim at the decision in an Instagram post.
During the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios on Sunday, which the Serb won in four sets, Medvedev posted a clip of himself watching the Austrian Grand Prix instead.
In the short video, the 26-year-old can be seen relaxing in his living room with the race on a large television. His packed trophy cabinet, which houses the US Open trophy he won in 2021, is also featured prominently.
In another dig at Wimbledon, a tournament in which he is yet to go beyond the fourth round, Medvedev captioned his video ‘Perfect Sunday’.
Medvedev was one of five top 50 men’s players blocked from competing at Wimbledon including Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Ilya Ivashka and Aslan Karatsev.
Daniil Medvedev posted a video of himself watching the Austrian Grand Prix at the same time as the men’s Wimbledon final was taking place. He was banned from competing back in April
Medvedev, pictured in action at the Australian Open this year, was one of the favourites to win the Wimbledon title before Russian and Belarusian players were banned
Ten prominent women were also barred, including Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina, Victoria Azarenka, Veronika Kudermetova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Liudmila Samsonova, Varvara Gracheva, Anastasia Potapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The ban on Russian and Belarusian players was controversially put in place by Wimbledon in response to the Ukraine war. It led to the removal of ranking points at the tournament, ensuring players from both countries would not be affected.
Medvedev has largely remained silent on the issue on social media, outside of a few snaps of him playing golf in his enforced down time.
However, speaking about the ban in May, he said: ‘On the one hand, I can understand it and, on the other, I find it unfair.
‘This is a delicate situation because it sets a precedent and puts other sports competitions in an uncomfortable position.
‘Where is the line? What are the rules that should lead to a possible exclusion? For having discussed it with the ATP, we are, us tennis players, considered in terms of law as independent workers.
‘But currently in the United Kingdom, self-employed Russians have the right to work. So, if I have the opportunity to play at Wimbledon, I would be delighted. If not, I would accept it.
Novak Djokovic lifted the men’s Wimbledon title on Sunday after beating Nick Kyrgios
Medvedev is the reigning US Open champion and was one of the favourites to win Wimbledon
‘I don’t know if this decision is 100 per cent and it’s over. If I can play, I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
‘If I cannot play, well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play,’ he added.
‘It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
‘You show a tennis ball to 100 people, I’m sure some of them are going to say it’s green and not yellow. I think it’s yellow. If somebody tells me it’s green, I’m not going to get in conflict with this person.’
Medvedev, the world No 1 and reigning US Open champion, was among the favourites to win Wimbledon this summer.
Organisers were mindful of the genuine possibility that, come finals weekend, there would be pictures beamed around the world of someone from Russia or Belarus holding a trophy aloft on the Centre Court – at what is the centenary of the famous arena.
There was controversy on Saturday when Moscow-born Elena Rybakina won the ladies’ singles final.
Elena Rybakina’s title win has sparked discussion over Wimbledon’s ban on Russian players
The 23-year-old, who now represents Kazakhstan, came from behind to beat Tunisia’s world No 2 Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the blazing heat on Centre Court to win her first ever Grand Slam singles title.
But with players from Russia and Belarus banned by the All England Club, Rybakina’s achievement has caused anger amongst supporters on social media.
The world No 23 was allowed to compete in the tournament because she switched to represent Kazakhstan when she was 19 after the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation offered her financial support.
Users of social media questioned the rules set by Wimbledon’s chiefs, with one fan writing: ‘Ironic that a tournament that has banned Russians from participating is won by a thoroughbred Russian woman born in Moscow.’
‘Credit to Elena Rybakina, who switched to Kazakhstan in 2018, but she lives in Moscow, her parents live in Moscow….she’s Russian! And she deserved her victory!’, another wrote.
Another user said: ‘Not sure if it’s funny or ironic that Wimbledon bans Russian players from this year’s event (resulting in the No. 1 ranked man not being allowed to participate), yet a player that was born and lives in Moscow, Russia wins the women’s singles title. Ironic?’
In a statement confirming the ban on Russian and Belarusian players in April, Wimbledon said: ”We share in the universal condemnation of Russia’s illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British sporting institution. We have also taken into account guidance set out by the UK Government specifically in relation to sporting bodies and events.
‘Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.
‘In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.
‘It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022. If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly.
‘We also welcome the LTA’s decision in declining entries from Russian and Belarusian players to UK events to ensure that British tennis is delivering a consistent approach across the summer.’
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, added: ‘We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.
‘We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships.’
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