Wimbledon news: Asking players to denounce Vladimir Putin ‘dangerous’ as their ‘families will pay a price’
Asking tennis players to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to play at Wimbledon is a “slippery and dangerous” territory, according to Australian great Todd Woodbridge.
Players from Russia and Belarus are not allowed to play under their countries’ flags and names following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the ATP, WTA and ITF announcing that they can only compete as individuals.
However, the UK government has warned that they could go even further ahead of Wimbledon as British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said they could seek “assurances” from players that they don’t support Putin.
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While many Russian players, including US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, have expressed their opposition to the invasion, asking them to denounce Putin could be risky says doubles legend Woodbridge.
“That is such slippery and dangerous ground,” he told Nine’s Sports Sunday.
“We all know they have families back in whatever part of Russia they are from, and you do not want to be on the wrong side of that, because your family will pay a price.
“This is really dangerous territory, and one that we have to be very sensitive about.”
Woodbridge explained that tennis is different from team sports as players rarely live in the country of their birth.
“It’s an individual sport. I feel at this point we allow them to play,” he said.
“Andrey Rublev this week made it through to a semi final. It’s really hard if we go down that line.
“Teams are different, that is national representation. Individuals are different.
“A lot of them don’t live in that country… as an example, for 11 years of my career I lived in the United States.
“I feel it has to be let’s see what happens over the coming months, and then we’ll be able to make a better decision.”
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