Andrey Rublev Indian Wells 2022

‘Tennis should be outside of politics!’ – Andrey Rublev defends Russian players against potential ban

Andrey Rublev believes “tennis should be separate from politics” as he defends himself and his compatriots against calls for an outright ban on Russian players.

A little under a month ago, war broke out when Russia finally invaded Ukraine, much to the chagrin of the majority of the rest of the world.

As a result, Russia and Belarus were placed under a number of sanctions across a range of sectors, one of which was sports.

Much like football, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) took the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian national teams but allowed individual players to compete as ‘neutral athletes.’

There has been criticism that these measures are not strong enough and there are discussions over whether outright bans should be enforced.

One such measure that may be implemented at Wimbledon could see Russian players be forced to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin and a failure to do so could result in being denied entry.

Speaking to the press after beating Grigor Dimitrov, World number seven Rublev said “talking about the British government, it’s like I said, I think we should show a great example that tennis should be outside of politics.

“We don’t see our family. Many of the athletes, they change home because of the conditions of the sport.

“I think sport should be outside of politics because everyone says this, but in the end looks like still it’s not happening.

“That’s why I hope that in sport they will show there is no politics and we will be a good example to have a huge step forward.”

When news of the war first broke, Rublev was one of the first to condemn his nation’s actions, writing “no war please” on the camera.

Speaking on the reception he received before and after the message, Rublev said “in the beginning, before I wrote this on camera, I was receiving many bad messages.

“I don’t know, I was not even thinking how many people will see this or where it will go. I just wrote what I feel in that moment.

“That’s it. After this, somehow it gets over 22 million views.

“I think I was one of the first sportsmen in the world who say this. In the end all the messages I start to receive, almost 100%, all of them were only positive, like ‘thank you,’ stuff like that.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.