World No.1 Daniil Medvedev could be banned from Wimbledon unless he gives “assurances” that he does not support Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Medvedev, along with other Russian and Belarusian tennis players, has been competing as a neutral athlete at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells this week following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston said on Tuesday the government is in talks with the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) regarding their stance for Wimbledon, which starts on June 27.
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Huddleston says "nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed" to play the Grand Slam.
“We are talking to various sports about this and what the response should be there,” he told the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee.
“Absolutely, nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled.
“But I think it needs to go beyond that, I think we need to have some assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to get assurances along those lines.
“In short, would I be comfortable with a Russian athlete flying the flag of Russia? No.”
He added that discussions were being held with Wimbledon organisers regarding the issue.
Tennis has so far stopped short of banning Russian players, however Russia have been banned from team competitions like the Davis Cup.
Huddleston says the UK is looking at how to reach a “broad global consensus” with other countries on how individual players from Russia should be treated.
“We are looking at this issue of what we do with individuals and we are thinking about the implications of it, because I don’t think people would accept individuals very clearly flying the Russian flag, in particular if there is any support for Putin and his regime.”
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Medvedev, who is set to lose the world No.1 ranking to Novak Djokovic after losing to Gael Monfils at Indian Wells, said last week that he hopes to continue promoting tennis.
"It's always tough to talk on this subject because I want to play tennis – play in different countries.
"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."
Huddleston suggested Russia will not return to the international sporting stage in the near future.
“They will last I think for some time, including Russia not being able to bid for major sporting events now which could be many, many years in the future.
“I think it’s going to be quite a while before we welcome Russia back onto the world sporting stage.”
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