'We want to do our job' - Russia's Andrey Rublev says sport should be outside of politics after UK minister's comments
As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian and Belarusian tennis players are not allowed to play under their country’s name or flag and cannot play in team competition. Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steve Simon says players should not be banned from tournaments because of politics and it's a view that Indian Wells semi-finalist Andrey Rublev - an anti-war advocate - agrees with.
'Sport should be outside of politics' - Rublev responds to UK sports minister's comment
Andrey Rublev says Russian tennis players should be allowed to continue to compete at tournaments despite the nation's invasion of Ukraine.
Rublev, who advanced to the semi-finals of Indian Wells after a 7-5 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov on Friday, wrote 'No war please' on a camera lens after his semi-final win at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.
Nigel Huddleston, the United Kingdom’s government’s sport, tourism and heritage minister, suggested he will seek "assurance” from Daniil Medvedev and other Russian tennis players that they do not support Vladimir Putin's regime and that the government is in talks with the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) regarding their stance for Wimbledon, which starts on June 27.
The world No.7 believes sports and politics should not be mixed.
The 24-year-old told reporters: "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.
"Not tennis, but in general sport. We're athletes. We want to compete. We were sacrificing so many things.
"We don't see our family. Many of the athletes, they change home because of the conditions of the sport, they're doing basketball, football. If you go from one team to another, you move completely, stuff like that.
"I think that's the most important thing, that we were sacrificing a lot just to be able to compete, to show that we want to do our job, that's it.
"I think sport should be outside of politics because everyone say 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."
Highlights: Rublev beats Dimitrov in straight sets to reach Indian Wells semis
After initially receiving negative messages when Russia went to war in Ukraine, Rublev says he has received plenty of positive ones from those who supported him in advocating his anti-war message.
He said: "In the beginning, before I wrote this on camera, I was receiving many like bad messages. When everything starts, happen in the world, I start to receive many bad messages.
"I don't know. I didn't even - how you say? I was not even thinking how many people will see this or where it will go or something. 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, yeah, 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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