Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war between the two nations has affected sports heavily. A number of tournaments and governing bodies have imposed sweeping bans on Russian and Belarusian players --.
Tennis star Daniil Medvedev, who is Russian, has broken his silence on the matter. Speaking to Russian news agency TASS, Medvedev expressed his disappointment with being banned from competing at Wimbledon. Medvedev, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, has been forbidden from competing at Wimbledon along with all other Russian and Belarusian players.
Here's what he said:
"On the one hand, I can understand (the decision) 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?"
Medvedev noted that under the law, tennis players are considered independent workers, much like average self-employed Russians living in the United Kingdom. Medvedev made a point that such individuals currently have the right to work in the UK, despite their country of origin's ongoing war in Ukraine.
The tennis star went on to express hope that he would eventually be allowed to play at Wimbledon, which begins at the end of June, but would accept it if it was not to be.
"If I have the opportunity to play at Wimbledon, I would be delighted. If not, I would accept it," he said.
The tournament's ban on Russian and Belarusian players was likely partially influenced by political matters. According to the Daily Telegraph, a major consideration in the ban was the optics of a member of the British royal family potentially having to present the trophy to a Russian or Belarusian player at Centre Court in the event the winner hails from either country.
Russia has condemned the actions of British administrators against their nation's athletes.
"Once again they simply turn athletes into hostages to political prejudice, political intrigues," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "This is unacceptable. Taking into account that Russia is a very strong tennis country, our athletes are at the top of world rankings, the competition itself will suffer from their removal."
The ATP has also spoken out against Medvedev and others being banned from Wimbledon, stating in April that the tournament's actions were unfair and discriminatory. The ATP is still allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under a neutral flag.
Wimbledon, however, is run by the All England Club and independent of the ATP.