Danillo Medvedev back on ATP Tour after Wimbledon ban

Getty Images

GENEVA — Watching the recent news from Ukraine is “very upsetting,” No. 2- ranked tennis player Daniil Medvedev said of the war that led Wimbledon organizers to ban him and other Russians from their tournament.

The U.S. Open champion spoke at the Geneva Open where he returns to action after a five-week absence from the ATP Tour for surgery on a hernia injury.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev said when asked if he could monitor the conflict in Ukraine more closely while not playing.

Medvedev previously said in February after Russia invaded Ukraine that he was “all for peace.”

Though most Olympic sports banned Russian teams and athletes from international competitions, tennis allowed players to continue as individuals and not representatives of their country.

Wimbledon organizers went further, announcing three weeks ago with support from the U.K. government a decision to impose a ban and “limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible.”

They said that could change “if circumstances change materially” in the war before the tournament begins June 27.

Medvedev said in Geneva “I don’t know if this decision is like 100% and it’s over” for him at Wimbledon where he reached the round of 16 last year.

“If I can play, I’m going to be happy to play at Wimbledon. I love this tournament,” he said.

Appearing relaxed and smiling often in a 16-minute news conference speaking in English and French, Medvedev explained his outlook when asked about support he got from other players.

“Me, personally in life, I try to respect every opinion because every human life is different,” he said. “You show a tennis ball to 100 people I’m sure some of them are going to say it’s green, and not yellow.

“I think it’s yellow. If somebody tells me it’s green I’m not going to, you know, get in conflict with this person.”

Medvedev is top-seeded at the Geneva clay-court tournament and has a bye into the second round to face Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

The tournament will be his main preparation for the French Open. Until last year’s run to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, the 26-year-old Medvedev never got past the first round.

“It’s never been easy for me on clay court to straight away start (well),” he said. “Even one tournament is going to be good to prepare. I’m feeling good physically.”

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.

The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.

He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.

The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”

Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.

An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.

The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.

The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.

Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.

That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.

After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.

“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”