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Daniil Medvedev shares Wimbledon plea as Russians await ban verdict



Daniil Medvedev has voiced his desire to play at Wimbledon this summer as Russian players wait to learn whether the club will ban them for a second year running. The All England Club barred all Russian and Belarusian players from competing in 2022 amid the war in Ukraine, and it is expected that they will announce a decision over this year’s tournament during their annual spring press conference. It comes as the ATP and WTA Tours have threatened the LTA to lift their ban in the warm-up events including Queen’s and Eastbourne.

The tennis world is waiting to learn whether Wimbledon will ban Russians and Belarusians from this year’s Championships after the club took a stand against the Ukraine war last year and barred them from the tournament. The AELTC is yet to make a decision over this year’s event but former world No 1 Medvedev has had his say, revealing that he hopes to play Wimbledon this summer.

The 27-year-old was discussing Novak Djokovic’s recent dominance at Wimbledon – where he has won seven titles including the last four editions of the tournament in a row – when he admitted he wanted to return to SW19 this year and compete. “I like grass but it’s a very tough surface, it’s a little bit tougher than hard courts, and that’s where I think Novak is amazing winning so many grass-court tournaments,” he told Eurosport on Thursday.

“Because you can really just get a guy who is going to serve good this day and you have to win the tie-breaks. Novak managed to win so many times 6-4 6-4 6-4, I actually don’t know how he does it.” Medvedev himself enjoyed some success on the grass last year, reaching back-to-back finals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle, but was unable to follow it up at Wimbledon.

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He continued: “So that’s where grass is a little bit tough for me, like for example, I lost to [Tim] Van Rijthoven in the [s-Hertogenbosch] final last year and before the final I was feeling great, playing great, and he was having a good day, hitting bombs, after the match, I was like, ‘okay, one hour, he just hit winners all over the place and I lost.’”

And the world No 8 wanted another chance to prove himself on the grass again this summer, this time at the main event. “This on hard courts is a little bit less probable to happen. But I want to play on grass, I want to play Wimbledon,” he admitted.

With the All England Club yet to publicly make a decision, Medvedev was keeping his cool as he waited for news over another potential ban. He added: “I don’t know what their decision is going to be. I’m just going to wait for it and hopefully, I can play Wimbledon this year and show some great results.”

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Medvedev’s comments come as the ATP and WTA have been threatening the LTA with sanctions if the British governing body for tennis does not allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at the pre-Wimbledon tour events, including the prestigious ATP 500 in Queen’s. The LTA has been threatened with expulsion if they repeat the bans this year, meaning the tours could revoke their tournament licences and put them for sale on the open market to overseas tennis bodies.

The WTA has also attempted to incentivise the LTA over its women’s events in Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne by promising to retrospectively half the £830,000 ($1 million) fine already paid by the LTA as punishment for last year’s bans if they allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in 2023.

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