Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev’s road to Wimbledon in June may have to include more than just his play on the court. British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said during a UK Parliament select committee meeting on Tuesday that he may ask for “assurances” that Medvedev does not support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ahead of the tournament.
During the meeting, Huddleston made it clear that symbols of Russia will not be permitted at Wimbledon, which runs from June 27 to July 10. Here’s more of what he said, via CNN:
“Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled … 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.”
Medvedev has already been asked about the conflict in Ukraine, and his response was “My message is always the same — I want peace in all of the world.”
WTA head Steve Simon disagrees with Huddleston and said he does not support banning players who do not publicly criticize the “decisions of an authoritarian leadership,”according to CNN.
“… I can tell you that we have never banned athletes from participating on our tour as the result of political positions their leadership may take, so it would take something very significant for that to change, but again we don’t know where this is going,” Simon said. “I feel very strongly that these individual athletes should not be the ones that are being penalized by the decisions of an authoritarian leadership that is obviously doing terrible, reprehensible things.”
In response to Russia invading Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian athletes are still able to compete on the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tour, but they must do so as neutral athletes. Russian flags are not permitted at events.