Banned Medvedev shares jokey message as Wimbledon begins


The world number one said he ‘can’t leave grass’ in a playful post alongside German football icon Bastian Schweinsteiger

Wimbledon gets underway on Monday without the participation of Russian and Belarusian stars, but men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev did not appear too upset as he shared a light-hearted social media message.

Medvedev is among the host of Russian men’s and women’s players barred from competing at the grass court Grand Slam because of their nationality after the All England Club announced the controversial decision back in April.

The ruling runs counter to other Grand Slams on the calendar and contravenes the position of the ATP and WTA that Russian and Belarusian players should continue to compete freely under neutral status. Both tours stripped Wimbledon of rankings points in response to the contentious step. 

READ MORE: Russian-born star avoids Wimbledon ban after nationality switch

Medvedev had said he would be willing to line up at SW19 if officials had a late change of heart, although that did not transpire as the 26-year-old found himself with free time on his hands following his most recent appearance at the Mallorca Open.

But the Russian ace indicated that he was not quite ready to end his exploits on grass, taking to social media to share images of himself enjoying a day of golf alongside German football legend Bastian Schweinsteiger.

“Can’t leave grass,” joked Medvedev in the caption, adding a ‘crying with laughter’ emoji and tagging World Cup winner Schweinsteiger.

The 6ft 6in tennis star was seen wielding a club in the direction of the ball on the tee, and later received treatment from Schweinsteiger for what appeared to be thumb injury which fans will hope doesn’t hinder Medvedev on court.

The Russian star is known as an avid football fan and keen supporter of Bayern Munich, one of 37-year-old Schweinsteiger’s former teams.

In his absence from Wimbledon, Medvedev recently named reigning champion Novak Djokovic, last year’s beaten finalist Matteo Berrettini, and 22-time Grand Slam king Rafael Nadal as his tips for the title in London this summer.

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Banned Medvedev names Wimbledon favorites

Medvedev’s own grass court season came to a disappointing end with a quarterfinal defeat at the Mallorca Open, which followed successive losses in the finals of the Halle Open in Germany and Rosmalen Grass Court Championships at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

Nonetheless, Medvedev retained his place at the top of the ATP rankings on Monday, leading the way ahead of Germany’s Alexander Zverev, with Djokovic in third and Nadal in fourth. Russia’s Andrey Rublev maintained his spot in the top 10, sitting in eighth place.

With his grass court campaign over, Medvedev will turn his attention back to the hard courts, and most importantly retaining his title at the US Open when the action begins in New York in late August.

US tennis officials have already said they will not follow Wimbledon in banning Russian and Belarusian stars, leaving Medvedev free to line up at Flushing Meadows, which was the scene of his maiden Grand Slam triumph last year. 

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