Former Ukrainian tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov told BBC Sports that allowing Russian players to compete in international tournaments under the neutral flag system including men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev was “not changing anything” as the crisis continues to wreak havoc in the country adding to the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes in other international sports.
The former world number 13 connected with BBC Sports to give his views on the current stance of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and both ATP and WTA who have allowed the Russian athletes to compete under the neutral flag system and admitted that “it is not enough” to let them play after few words of denouncing the war. He finds Medvedev and his compatriot, Andy Rublev, who signed on a camera lens “no war please” in Dubai both appealing in nature but is disappointed with the representation that they hold in the sport.
He said that it is tough to see terrible things happening in his country and that every Russian is responsible for their government and their president, reported BBC Sports. He added that ATP should take further actions and be aggressive in its forms of sanctions as there are families: women and children dying at the hands of the dictator.
Dolgopolov, along with fellow tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, returned to Ukraine to join the territorial defence unit and fight for the country. He also said that despite the disappointing stance the bodies have taken in the current situation, it was inspiring to see fellow Ukrainian athletes raise their voices against the atrocities of their homeland and condemn war altogether.