According to reports, World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev could be barred from playing at Wimbledon this year unless he publicly denounces Vladimir Putin and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
British sports minister Nigel Huddleston told Members of Parliament that he would not be comfortable with athletes flying the Russian flag at the All England Club this year.
"We are talking to various sports about this and what the response should be there," Huddleston was quoted as saying by iNews. "Absolutely, nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled."
He revealed that many countries have agreed to refuse to entertain Russian teams at sporting events in the near future, but admitted that the situation becomes more complicated when it comes to individual athletes.
When asked if Medvedev would play at Wimbledon, Huddleston said that not flying the Russian flag may not be enough, and assurances that the athletes in question do not support Vladimir Putin may be needed.
"But I think it needs to go beyond that, I think we need to have some assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin and we are considering what requirements we may need to get assurances along those lines," he said.
"In short, would I be comfortable with a Russian athlete flying the flag of Russia? No," Huddleston added.
Medvedev is not the only high-profile Russian athlete who could face a ban. World No. 6 Andrey Rublev, as well as 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev, could both be barred from playing in the Championships this year.
On the women's side, 2021 French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova could also face the same scenario.
"I don’t think people would accept individuals very clearly flying the Russian flag" - Nigel Huddleston on Daniil Medvedev's Wimbledon participation
Daniil Medvedev became World No. 1 after overtaking Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings last month. The Russian is one of the form players on tour and would fancy his chances at SW19, although grass is not his favorite surface.
However, according to Huddleston, the 26-year-old faces the very real possibility of being unable to participate at Wimbledon. The minister claimed that the general public would not accept any player flying the Russian flag or associating with Putin.
"We are looking at this issue of what we do with individuals and we are thinking about the implications of it, because I don’t think people would accept individuals very clearly flying the Russian flag," Huddleston said. "In particular if there is any support for Putin and his regime."
The Russian has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon. He was beaten at that stage last year by Hubert Hurkacz.