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Sport Daniil Medvedev's Wimbledon ban threat slammed as 'shameful' by Novak Djokovic's ex-coach

10:20  17 april  2022
10:20  17 april  2022 Source:   express.co.uk

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Daniil Medvedev and his fellow Russian players are facing a ban from Wimbledon © Getty Daniil Medvedev and his fellow Russian players are facing a ban from Wimbledon

The former coach of Novak Djokovic has slammed suggestions of a ban on Russian players at Wimbledon amid the war in Ukraine. The likes of world No 2 Daniil Medvedev could be prevented from playing the tournament unless they provide "assurances" that they do not support Vladimir Putin.

Both the All England Club club and the country's Sports Minister have threatened a ban for Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon this summer after the invasion of Ukraine. With a mid-May entry list deadline, the tournament has just weeks to decide whether players from the two nations will be barred from competing this year and tennis coach Nikola Pilic has weighed in ahead of the final decision, slamming the idea.

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Pilic was essential in the development of Djokovic into a world No 1 player and 20-time Grand Slam champion, running a tennis academy in Germany that the Serb used to train at. And the retired Croat is fully against punishments for Russian tennis players amid the war.

"It's just a shame," he told Kurir. "Did they do something similar when the Americans entered Iraq and killed over a million civilians there?" The 82-year-old who won nine titles and reached the 1973 French Open final during his playing career also slammed the potential sanctions against Russian players as an "exaggeration", believing the move wasn't necessary.

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Nikola Pilic slammed the prospect of a ban on Russian and Belarusian players © Getty Nikola Pilic slammed the prospect of a ban on Russian and Belarusian players

He continued: "Did they ban their tennis players from playing? They are exaggerating in any sense." Pilic also slammed "Russophobia in Britain", saying: "it's been like that for the last 150 years."

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Russian and Belarusian players are currently competing as neutrals with no mention of their flags or countries, but this may not be enough of a sanction for Wimbledon. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston previously proposed the idea of Russian players providing "assurances" and signing a declaration to be able to play the prestigious Grand Slam later this year.

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Daniil Medvedev could be forced to sign a © Getty Daniil Medvedev could be forced to sign a

"We wish to get the assurance of that in a written declaration that they are not receiving money from Putin, Russia or Belarus. That they will not be making supportive comments of Putin, Russia or Belarus," he said. "If people are saying they are neutral athletes, we want the assurance that they are genuinely neutral and therefore there isn't any connection with Putin.

And the AELTC is said to be exploring the option of imposing a ban on Russian players, something they have more freedom to do as a result of their private members' club status. "If the tours took strong action, Russians players could argue that they are being prevented from making a living through no fault of their own. That is not so much of an issue for Wimbledon, however," a source recently told The Telegraph.

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