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Medvedev speaks on Russian bans

Daniil Medvedev is preparing to start his first tournament as world number oneMedvedev speaks on Russian bans

Medvedev speaks on Russian bans

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Daniil Medvedev has admitted he is uncertain if Russian tennis stars can avoid the kind of blanket bans imposed in other sports, as the newly-crowned world number one expressed a wish for “peace in all the world.”

Medvedev overtook Novak Djokovic at the pinnacle of the men’s rankings at the end of last month, becoming the first new name outside of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray to achieve the feat in the last 18 years.

The 26-year-old Russian is preparing to start his first tournament in his lofty new ranking but will do so without his country’s flag after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) banned Russian symbols because of the military operation in Ukraine.

The ITF stopped short of following an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation to issue outright bans on Russian and Belarusian athletes, but did prohibit the two countries from team events including the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup – where Russia are defending champions at both tournaments.

Medvedev recently removed the Russian flag from his Instagram account and admitted ahead of the ATP Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells in California this week that he was uncertain about his status moving forward.      

“We never know – some sports made this decision [to ban all Russian athletes], especially I would think the team sports,” Medvedev said.

“Tennis is probably one of the most individual sports we have in the world. Everyone’s living in so many different places. There’s always a possibility [of a full ban], but I hope not.”

Medvedev drops Russian flag from Instagram account

Medvedev drops Russian flag from Instagram account

Medvedev drops Russian flag from Instagram account

Medvedev was part of the Russian team at the Tokyo Olympic Games last summer which was forced to compete under the banner of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) rather than the national flag due to ongoing sanctions by WADA.  

“I don’t make these decisions. It was the same at the Olympic Games for us already,” Medvedev added.

“It’s always tough to talk on this subject for me because I want to play tennis, we play in different countries.

“I want to promote my sport, I want to promote what I’m doing in my country for sure also, and right now the situation is that that is the only way how I can play.

“That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to try to fight on the court, win the tournament and beat the other guys.”

Medvedev recently issued a social media message expressing a wish for peace in the world as the Russian offensive began in Ukraine, and he echoed that stance in California.  

“My message is always the same: I want peace in all the world, in all the countries… I think every tennis player is going to say the same,” said the 2021 US Open champion.

Medvedev is top seed at Indian Wells and will be without the competition of world number two Djokovic, after the Serbian star confirmed his absence because Covid vaccination rules prevent him from traveling to the US.

Unvaccinated Djokovic issues statement on US events

Unvaccinated Djokovic issues statement on US events

Unvaccinated Djokovic issues statement on US events

Medvedev said there was added pressure being top dog in men’s tennis but noted it’s not the first team he has been seeded first at a tournament.

“It feels great, it’s not the first time I’m the first seed in the tournament. It’s a lot of pressure but at the same time a lot of motivation,” said Medvedev, who has four Masters 1000 titles to his name.  

“I’m going to try to do my best, every tournament you try to gain the most points possible – here it’s 1,000 points – but then of course the draw is very tough, a lot of strong players so it’s not easy to make it.”    

The competition will include 21-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, who defeated Medvedev in a five-set epic in the Australian Open final in January and then earned a straight-sets win over the Russian in the semi-finals of the Mexico Open at the end of last month.  

“Playing at Acapulco… consciously, the Australian Open was by far over,” said Medvedev.

“But I think unconsciously it still was somewhere there, especially playing against Rafa. Something was not right in my energy in that match. Maybe it’s [because of] this, maybe not.”

“I think it made me mature, the Australian Open, hopefully. I understood I have a lot of room to work on myself.”


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