World No 1 Danill Medvedev has responded to Ukrainian star Marta Kostyuk’s call for all Russian tennis players to be banned from competition. Currently, Russian players are having to play under a neutral flag amid the ongoing war.
A number of sports have taken sanction against Russian and Belarusian competitors since the invasion, including the International Olympic Committee and Formula 1 bosses the FIA.
Tennis chiefs have however allowed Russian competitors to continue to play on the ATP and WTA tour, including newly crowned world No 1 Medvedev. But they are currently having to do so under a neutral flag.
As a result, WTA star Kostyuk has called for a blanket ban following the destruction caused to her home country.
She commented, as quoted by AFP: “I don’t agree with the action that has been taken [by tennis leaders].
“Look at the other sports, look at the big sports, what they did – that’s it.
“Right now, the rule is that we can [play] under a neutral flag. I want to play my favourite sport.
“I’m going to be there to try to play for the fans, play for the people, for myself.
“Tennis is a very individual sport.
“So far, [the stronger sanctions] we are seeing are more [in] national teams or some team sports. Let’s see how the situation evolves.”
The Russian kicked off his tournament by defeating Tomas Machac comfortably in straight sets 6-3 6-2 on Saturday.
Despite the controversies surrounding his home nation, Medvedev revealed he was thankful to receive a warm reception from the Indian Wells crowd.
He continued: “I’m just pleased to be here and playing the sport I love. The fans were very good to me in this game.
“This is the first time I have heard this and people clapped, so thanks a lot for the nice welcome.”