© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 500 – Abierto Mexicano – The Fairmont Acapulco Princess, Acapulco, Mexico – February 25, 2022 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his semifinal match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Henry Romero
(Reuters) – U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev may have to provide assurances that he does not support Russian president Vladimir Putin if he is to compete at this year’s Wimbledon, British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said on Tuesday.
Huddleston said he would not be comfortable with a “Russian athlete flying the Russian flag” and winning the grasscourt Grand Slam in London.
“Many countries have agreed that they will not allow representatives from Russia to compete. There are also visa issues as well. When it comes to individuals, that is more complex,” Huddleston said at a select committee in parliament when asked about Medvedev competing at Wimbledon.
“Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled.”
Huddleston said many athletes have multiple or dual citizenships and would be willing to compete as “non-aligned, non-flag bearing entities” but that the situation demanded further action.
“We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to try and get some assurances along those lines,” he added.
Huddleston said he was discussing the issue with Wimbledon organisers, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).
Medvedev rose to number one in the men’s world rankings last month, although he is set to lose top spot to Novak Djokovic following a third-round loss at Indian Wells on Monday.
Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to play on the elite ATP and WTA Tours but not under the name or flag of their countries.
Russia was also banned from defending its Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup team titles, a decision that followed the country’s invasion of Ukraine last month.
Belarus was a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia says is a “special operation”.
Wimbledon runs from June 27-July 10.
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