Politics in sports


Djokovic calls for return of Russian and Belarusian players at Wimbledon

 Djokovic calls for return of Russian and Belarusian players at Wimbledon
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Novak Djokovic has called for former world number one Daniil Medvedev, as well as players from Russia and Belarus, to be allowed back at Wimbledon this year.

Of course, absolutely,

the Serbian, currently ranked number five in the world, insisted.

I hope he and other Russian and Belarusian players will be able to play everywhere.

Russian and Belarusian players are not permitted to play in team events, so Medvedev was not allowed to participate in the mixed United Cup taking place in cities around Australia this week.

Last year, Djokovic was critical of Wimbledon's decision to impose a ban on players from Russia and Belarus in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a decision which saw the tournament fined and stripped of ranking points, but there has been no announcement about its policy for 2023.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has also been critical of the tournament's stance, saying last month that

Governments should not decide on political grounds who is participating at which sporting events.

Russia's Daniil Medvedev is hopeful of a return for Wimbledon 2023 but is already on course to meet Novak Djokovic in the Adelaide Open semi-final 

So far I haven't heard anything, and I completely understand why we are not playing Davis Cup or United Cup and team competitions where we would represent our country,

Medvedev said in Adelaide this week.

Medvedev has been allowed to play in the Adelaide Open where he defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals, and he is on course to meet Djokovic in the last four of the tournament.

Hopefully I can play the individual events, and as I said many, many times last year, I play what I can play, so here I can play Adelaide, and I'm really happy about it, and I want to show my best tennis,

Medvedev said.

Meanwhile, Djokovic defeated Constant Lestienne of France 6-3, 6-2 in his opening match of the tournament and is set to face another Frenchman, Quentin Halys tomorrow in the round-of-16.

Last year, Djokovic was deported from Australia due to his refusal to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

Novak Djokovic received a warm welcome in Adelaide after he was allowed to return to Australia

He had originally been banned from returning until 2025, but the restriction was rescinded in November after a change of Government in Australia.

On his return in Adelaide, Djokovic was greeted by cheers as he played a doubles match alongside Canadian Vasek Pospisil on Monday (January 2), but the pair lost in three sets.

Of Djokovic’s 21 Grand Slam singles titles, a record nine have come in Australia. 

The Australian Open is set to begin on January 16 in Melbourne.

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