Russian tennis players may not be allowed to play at Wimbledon unless they denounce Vladimir Putin, according to the British government. This would include Russian born Daniil Medvedev, who is currently rated as the best tennis player in the world.
British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston outlined the proposed measures before parliament on Tuesday. Russia’s tennis teams have already been thrown out of the Davis and Billie Jean King Cup, but Huddleston said that the government wanted the sanctions to go further.
“It needs to go beyond that. We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to try and get some assurances along those lines,” Huddleston told the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee. When asked whether Russian athletes would be required to “denounce” Putin, Huddleston said the details were still being discussed, including with other countries. “It would be better if we can decide some broad global consensus on this.”
If implemented, these measures would affect Medvedev and all other Russian and Belorussian players. There are currently four Russians ranked among the men’s ATP top 30, while three Russians and two Belarusians are ranked among the WTA.
Medvedev, who won last year’s tournament, has said that he tries not to involve himself in politics. “I want to promote my sport, promote it in my country for sure also. Right now, the situation is this is the only way we can play so that’s what I’m going to do. I will try to fight on the court and try to win the tournaments and try to beat the other guys,” Medvedev told Yahoo Sports.
Russian and Belorussian clubs have been barred from numerous leagues and competitions since the wider Ukraine conflict began last month. This includes hockey and various other winter sports, as well as soccer. Russian teams have been barred from the prestigious, continent-wide European soccer tournaments, while the Russian national team was even scrubbed from EA’s FIFA video game.