Daniil Medvedev: Russian wants to continue ‘promoting his sport’

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev’s last tournament was the Mexican Open in February, where he was beaten in the semi-finals by Rafael Nadal

Russia’s world number one Daniil Medvedev says he wants to continue promoting his sport, but is not sure if he will be allowed to play on.

Like all players from Russia and Belarus, Medvedev is no longer able to compete under his own flag following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But tennis authorities say players can compete as individuals “at this time”.

“It’s always tough to talk on this subject because I want to play tennis; play in different countries,” he said.

Speaking on the eve of the first Masters event of the year in Indian Wells, Medvedev added: “I want to promote my sport, I want to promote what I’m doing in my country for sure, and right now the situation is that that is the only way I can play.”

Russian athletes have been banned from athletics, badminton, canoeing and rowing and there are no Russian or Belarusian athletes competing at the Beijing Winter Paralympics.

Asked if he thought tennis would follow their lead, he replied: “We never know – some sports made this decision, especially I would think the team sports.

“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, but I hope not.”

Belarus’ Sabalenka top seed in women’s draw

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2021

In the absence of Ashleigh Barty and Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is the top seed in the women’s singles at Indian Wells.

She says she has not felt any hostility from her Ukrainian peers but admits the players’ area is not as happy as it usually is.

“I feel really sad and really bad about Ukrainian citizens who lost their homes in the war,” she said.

“But unfortunately it’s not under my control. I just hope for peace.

“At least we can play. I do understand [why she can’t play under the Belarusian flag], but it’s not under our control. We also feel really sad and really bad about this situation.”

And like many players, of so many different nationalities, Sabalenka will happily wear the blue and yellow ribbon of Ukraine when she plays her first match in Indian Wells on Saturday.

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