GENEVA — Watching the latest news from Ukraine is “very upsetting,” No. 2-ranked tennis player Daniil Medvedev said on Sunday of the war that led Wimbledon organizers to ban him, as well as to other Russians, of their tournament.
The US Open champion spoke at the Geneva Open, where he is back after a five-week absence from the ATP Tour following surgery on a hernia.
“I had some time to follow what’s going on, yes, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev said when asked if he could follow the conflict in Ukraine more closely without playing.
Medvedev said in February after Russia invaded Ukraine that he was “all for peace”.
While most Olympic sports prohibited Russian teams and athletes from participating in international events, tennis allowed players to continue to compete as individuals and not as representatives of their country.
Wimbledon organizers went further, announcing three weeks ago, with the backing of the British government, a decision to impose a ban and “limit Russia’s global influence by the strongest means possible”.
They said that could change “if circumstances change materially” during the war before the tournament begins on June 27.
Medvedev said in Geneva: “I don’t know if this decision is 100% and it’s over” for him at Wimbledon, where he reached the round of 16 last year.
“If I can play, I will be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament,” he said.
Often appearing relaxed and smiling during a 16-minute press conference speaking in English and French, Medvedev explained his views when asked about the support he got from other players.
“I personally in life try to respect every opinion because every human life is different,” he said. “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, you know, clash with that person.”
Medvedev is the top seed in the Geneva clay tournament and has a second-round bye to face either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.
The tournament will be his main preparation for Roland-Garros, which begins next Sunday. Until last year’s run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, 26-year-old Medvedev had never made it past the first round.
“It’s never been easy for me on clay to start right away [well]”, he said. “Even a tournament is going to be good to prepare. I feel good physically.”