Daniil Medvedev Wimbledon 2021

‘It’s such dangerous ground’ – Slam legend urges caution on Wimbledon potentially banning Russian players

Todd Woodbridge has called for careful consideration of the idea that Russians be made to publicly denounce Vladimir Putin in order to play Wimbledon this year. 

The Australian, who won 10 Wimbledon titles across men’s and mixed doubles in his career, believes such a move could put Russian players and their families in danger.

Woodbridge’s response comes after UK sports minister Nigel Huddleston suggested Russian athletes be barred from playing Wimbledon 2022 on such grounds.

“That is such slippery and dangerous ground,” Woodbridge said on Australia’s Channel Nine.

“We all know they have families back in whatever part of Russia they are from, and you do not want to be on the wrong side of that, because your family will pay a price.

“This is really dangerous territory, and one that we have to be very sensitive about.”

Woodbridge, cited the fact that tennis is an individual and truly international sport and gave his own career as evidence.

“It’s an individual sport, I feel at this point we allow them to play,” he continued.

“Teams are different, that is national representation.

“A lot of them don’t live in [Russia].

“As an example, for 11 years of my career I lived in the United States.

“I feel it has to be let’s see what happens over the coming months, and then we’ll be able to make a better decision.”

ATP top 10 pros Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev would be the biggest absences under the suggested move on the men’s side, while 2021 Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is currently the highest ranked Russian woman.

All Russian players, and indeed Belarusians, are currently competing as neutral athletes on the ATP and WTA tours not under their national flags at tournaments and without reference to their nationalities on the tour websites and graphics.

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