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Number 2 Medvedev back on the ATP Tour after Wimbledon ban

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Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev reacts during a practice session at the ATP 250 Geneva Open tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

PA

Watching recent 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 and others Russians, of their tournament.

The US Open champion spoke at the Geneva Open where he returns to action after a five-week absence from the ATP Tour for hernia surgery.

“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 previously said in February after Russia invaded Ukraine that he was “all for peace”.

Although most Olympic sports prohibited Russian teams and athletes from participating in international competitions, tennis allowed players to continue 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 knockout stages last year.

“If I can play, I will be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament,” he said.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic previously called the Wimbledon ban ‘crazy’ and on Sunday after winning the Italian Open title players were asked to boycott the grass-court Grand Slam event .

“The boycott is too aggressive,” Djokovic said. “There are a few solutions that are better than this and we can aim for those. But after speaking to players involved in talks with Wimbledon, it seems there isn’t much wiggle room.

Medvedev often appeared relaxed and smiling during his 16-minute press conference, speaking in English and French, and explained his view of the support he has gotten 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 of them will say it’s green not yellow.

“I think it’s yellow. If someone tells me it’s green, I’m not going to argue 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 from 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 was never easy for me on clay to (well) start immediately,” he said. “Even a tournament is going to be good to prepare for. I feel good physically.

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report

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