Melbourne: Tennis star Daniil Medvedev on Friday said he was hoping to land a “great success” for Russia in the Australian Open final at a time when the country’s flag and anthem is banned from international sport.
Medvedev, 25, who will play eight-time winner Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s decider, said he didn’t understand why the Russian flag will not be flown at this year’s Olympics.
But he said he wanted to show children that Russia can be a “great tennis country”.
Russia’s flag and anthem is barred from international events until December 2022 — including the Tokyo Olympics, Beijing Winter Olympics and football World Cup in Qatar – as punishment for severe doping violations.
“Hopefully it’s going to be a great success for the country, again for tennis, because that’s what we are trying to do as tennis players,” said Medvedev, after trouncing Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 in the semi-finals.
“We want kids to play tennis. We want kids to know that Russia can be a great tennis country, and that’s the most important. That’s the most enjoyable part of success we are in.”
Russian players are riding high in tennis, after three reached the Melbourne quarter-finals. Medvedev is on a 20-match unbeaten streak, including four wins during Russia’s victorious ATP Cup campaign.
“When we talk about tennis, we don’t have all these restrictions,” Medvedev said of the flag ban.
“Tennis is such an individual sport… We all have our individual teams, so we are not (competing on behalf of the) Russian Federation.
“When we are going to go, for example, in the Olympics, as tennis players we’re not really going to understand why we cannot say ‘Russia’, why we cannot see our flag.
“I’m Russian. Why can’t I say it? It’s politics. I don’t go into that.”