Daniil Medvedev was invited to play at Laver Cup, but British government ‘hinted it wouldn’t work’

Shahida Jacobs
Daniil Medvedev antics

Daniil Medvedev had an invite to compete at the 2022 Laver Cup in London, but his hopes were dashed after the British government “hinted that it probably won’t work”, according to Andrey Rublev.

The Russian made his Laver Cup debut at last year’s tournament in Boston, USA, as he received one of the three automatic entries into Team Europe as he was No 2 in the ATP Rankings at the time of the cutoff.

He was also ranked No 2 behind Novak Djokovic at this year’s cutoff date, but his name was missing from the three automatic entries for the annual event at the O2 Arena in the UK and organisers never explained why they did not select the 26-year-old.

Not too many fans and pundits raised eyebrows about his omission after Team Europe opted for an impressive squad that featured the Big Four of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray with Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas also added.

Team Europe went on to lose the Laver Cup as Team World won the team event for the first time as they secured a dramatic 13-8 victory.

However, it has now come to light that Medvedev did have an invite to play in London, but his compatriot Rublev has revealed that the UK government made it clear that he is unlikely to receive permission to compete.

When asked if he was invited to play the Laver Cup this year, Rublev replied: “Not me. I know that Daniil – yes.

“But there is also the British government, and they hinted that it probably won’t work.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been barred from sporting events in the United Kingdom since May following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine in late February with Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston insisting that individual athletes who want to play in UK events must show they are “genuinely independent and neutral” – and it must be backed up by a written declaration.

After weeks of wrangling, the All England Club and Lawn Tennis Association followed government guidelines and banned players from the two countries from competing at all grass-court events, including Wimbledon.

It meant the likes of Medvedev, Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka all missed the grass-court Grand Slam at SW19, but the ATP and WTA retaliated by stripping Wimbledon of ranking points.

It remains to be seen if the status quo will remain should the war in Ukraine continue ahead of Wimbledon 2023.