French Open unlikely to ask Daniil Medvedev and co to denounce Vladimir Putin

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Russian and Belarusian players will be required to be neutral if they are to compete at the French Open, but they won’t have to go as far as giving assurances that they are not supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Players from Russia and Belarus are currently not allowed to play under the flags and names of the two countries following the former’s invasion of Ukraine with ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation rules stating they can only compete as individuals.

Earlier this week the UK government warned that they could go even further for Wimbledon as they could seek “assurances” from players that they don’t support Putin.

“Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled,” British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said.

“It needs to go beyond that. I think we need to have some assurance that they are not supporters of Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to get assurances along those lines.

“In short, would I be comfortable with a Russian athlete flying the flag of Russia? No.”

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Roland Garros on Wednesday announced that Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at this year’s French Open with French Tennis Federation Director General Amelie Oudea-Castera saying there will be no mention of those two countries at the clay-court event.

“We all have in mind what the IOC has said. This was actually also taken by the Grand Slams,” she said. “Competitions in Russia and Belarus are canceled. Everything that is corresponding will be actually suspended, all the participation and the flag will be excluded.

“As for the players individually, they will be required to be neutral. There will be no flag, no sign, nothing related to – there should be no mention relating to Russia or Belarus. This is what we have deployed and imposed on the ground, on court, everywhere.”

When asked if they would ask players to denounce Putin, Oudea-Castera said they are unlikely to go down that road.

“Well, we constantly have a dialogue and a discussion with Sally Bolton, who is my peer for England, and we talked about the answer of Nigel Huddleston in the Commons,” she said.

“Well, our minister of sports, Roxana Maracineanu, has mentioned this meeting of March 9 with all the ministers of sports of the EU plus a number of other countries. We are very careful about this these feelings. We have seen at Indian Wells there is a lot of emotion, but we want to stick to our position for the moment because we feel it’s a fair position and the right one to hold.”

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