Tennis world number one Daniil Medvedev hit out at Wimbledon officials on Sunday while watching Formula 1 instead of the men’s final, after he was banned from taking part in the tournament.
Concerns over the prospect of the Russian star winning at SW19 – one of the sport’s most iconic tournaments – with members of the royal family in attendance on center court was a major reason why players from the countries were barred from playing in April.
Wimbledon chiefs have banned all players from Russia and Belarus from the championships this summer in light of ongoing atrocities in Ukraine, with Medvedev taking aim at the decision in an Instagram post.
During the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios on Sunday, which the Serb won in four sets, Medvedev posted a clip of himself watching the Austrian Grand Prix instead.
In the short video, the 26-year-old can be seen relaxing in his living room with the race on a large TV. His jam-packed trophy cabinet, which houses the US Open trophy he won in 2021, also features prominently.
In another dig at Wimbledon, a tournament in which he is yet to make it past the fourth round, Medvedev captioned his video “Perfect Sunday.”
Medvedev was one of five top-50 male players barred from competing at Wimbledon, including Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Ilya Ivashka and Aslan Karatsev.
Daniil Medvedev posted a video of himself watching the Austrian Grand Prix as the men’s Wimbledon final unfolded. He was banned from competition in April
Medvedev, pictured in action at the Australian Open this year, was one of the favorites to win the Wimbledon title before Russian and Belarus players were banned.
Ten prominent women were also excluded, including Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina, Victoria Azarenka, Veronika Kudermetova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Liudmila Samsonova, Varvara Gracheva, Anastasia Potapova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The ban on Russian and Belarusian players was controversially put in place by Wimbledon in response to the war in Ukraine. This led to ranking points being removed during the tournament, ensuring that players from both countries would not be affected.
Medvedev has remained largely silent on the matter on social media, save for a few snaps of him playing golf during his enforced time out.
However, speaking about the ban in May, he said: “On the one hand I can understand it and on the other hand I find it unfair.
“It’s a tricky situation because it sets a precedent and puts other sports competitions in an uncomfortable position.
‘Where’s the line? What are the rules that should lead to a possible exclusion? Having discussed it with the ATP, we are, us tennis players, considered under the law as independent workers.
“But currently in the UK, Russian freelancers have the right to work. So, if I have the opportunity to play at Wimbledon, I would be delighted. Otherwise, I would accept it.
Novak Djokovic won the Wimbledon men’s title on Sunday after beating Nick Kyrgios
Medvedev is the defending US Open champion and was one of the favorites to win Wimbledon
“I don’t know if this decision is 100% and if it’s over. If I can play, I will be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“If I can’t play, well, I will try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play,” he added.
“It’s a tricky situation and like all situations in life, you ask 100 players, everyone is going to give a different opinion.”
“You show 100 people a tennis ball, I’m sure some will say it’s green not yellow.” I think it’s yellow. If someone tells me it’s green, I’m not going to come into conflict with that person.
Medvedev, the world No. 1 and defending US Open champion, was among the favorites to win Wimbledon this summer.
The organizers were aware of the real possibility that, on the weekend of the finals, there would be images broadcast around the world of someone from Russia or Belarus holding a trophy aloft on center court – at the occasion of the centenary of the famous bullring.
There was controversy on Saturday when Muscovite Elena Rybakina won the women’s singles final.
Elena Rybakina’s title win sparks talk of Russian players being banned from Wimbledon
The 23-year-old, who now represents Kazakhstan, came from behind to beat Tunisia’s world number 2 Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the searing heat of center court to win her first-ever Grand Slam singles title. .
But with players from Russia and Belarus banned by the All England Club, Rybakina’s achievement has angered supporters on social media.
The world No. 23 was allowed to take part in the tournament as she switched to represent Kazakhstan at the age of 19 after the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation offered her financial support.
Social media users have questioned the rules laid down by Wimbledon chiefs, with one fan writing: “Ironic that a tournament that banned Russians from participating is won by a thoroughbred Russian woman born in Moscow.”
‘Thanks to Elena Rybakina, who moved to Kazakhstan in 2018, but she lives in Moscow, her parents live in Moscow… she is Russian! And she deserved her victory! another wrote.
Another user said: “I don’t know if it’s funny or ironic that Wimbledon is banning Russian players from this year’s event (resulting in the #1 ranked man not being allowed to participate ), but a player who was born and lives in Moscow, Russia wins the women’s singles title. Ironic?’
In a statement confirming the ban on Russian and Belarusian players in April, Wimbledon said: “We share universal condemnation of Russia’s illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation as part of our duty to the players, to our community and to the general British public as a British sporting institution. We have also taken into account the guidelines set out by the UK government specifically in relation to sporting bodies and events.
“Given the profile of the championships in the UK and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit the global influence of Russia by the most powerful means possible.
“Under the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players in the championships.
“We therefore intend, with deep regret, to refuse Russian and Belarusian player registrations for the 2022 Championships. Should circumstances change materially by June, we will review and react accordingly.”
“We also welcome the LTA’s decision to refuse registrations of Russian and Belarusian players to UK events to ensure that UK tennis takes a consistent approach throughout the summer.”
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, added: “We recognize that this is difficult for those affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer from the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime.”
“We have looked very carefully at alternative measures that could be taken within UK Government guidelines, but, given the high profile environment of the Championships, the importance of not allowing the sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our wider concerns for the public and the safety of players (including family), we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis with the Championships.