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20 Apr, 2022 14:12

Medvedev grass court plans announced

The world number two is expected to miss out on Wimbledon due to an impending ban on Russian players
Medvedev grass court plans announced

Russia's Daniil Medvedev, the world's second-ranked men's tennis player, is set to take part in the forthcoming Libema Open in the Netherlands in June amid speculation that all Russian and Belarusian players will be banned from taking part in Wimbledon this summer due to the fallout from Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

It has been widely reported that the All-England Club will announce that Russian and Belarusian players are not welcome at the annual grass court tournament in London which begins in late June - with Medvedev and women's world number four Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus set to be most prominent players affected.

Medvedev, a hard court specialist, will get some action in on grass regardless of any ban, however, after it was confirmed he will return to the Dutch event in less than two months' time.

I am looking forward to coming back to the Netherlands... I love playing on grass and the relaxed atmosphere that Libema Open is known for,” Medvedev said in a statement shared by organizers. 

Medvedev is a four-time veteran of the event and will be hoping to claim his first title as he continues his pursuit of Novak Djokovic at the summit of the rankings. 

He will also be hoping that he will recover in time for the event after confirming earlier this month that he was expected to be sidelined for a period of 1-2 months after opting to have surgery to correct a hernia issue.

The Libema Open is widely considered as a 'warm-up' event for Wimbledon but it could be as close as Medvedev will get to London, as the 26-year-old continues his pursuit of what would be his second Grand Slam title.

Medvedev won his first Grand Slam last year, defeating Djokovic in the final of the US Open in New York City.

It remains to be seen if the Libema Open will act as something of a sanctuary for banished Russian players in what will be its first event since 2019 due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Azarenka of Belarus might also be candidates to compete.

Ukrainian retired tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov told the BBC that he backed moves by tennis authorities to punish Russian and Belarusian players. 

I believe Russia should be isolated in all possible ways, and the people of Russia have to solve this problem,” he said.

However, the likes of WTA boss Steve Simon have spoken out against blanket bans. 

“I don’t think you can just pick on the athletes," Simon said last month. 

"I’m hoping that we continue with the sanctions, we continue doing everything we can to get peace, but again these people are the innocent victims of that, and being isolated as a result of these decisions, I don’t think it’s fair,” Simon added.