“I think politics has always been in sport; everyone knows that; maybe one day sport can be without politics”

Andrey Rublev expressed his desire to separate politics from sport after reaching the second round of the Citi Open on Tuesday, beating Jack Draper in straight sets.

Rublev, 24, has recently become a victim of politics in sport. He and other Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from competing at Wimbledon following the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. As a result, this year’s championships went without ranking points, affecting many players – most notably Novak Djokovic – who slipped a few places despite successfully defending his title.

Meanwhile, top seed Rublev kicked off his North American campaign with a win at DC.

In his press conference, Rublev said that politics has always been an integral part of sport. However, he hopes tennis will take the lead as a global sport and show other sports that sport in general can be kept out of politics.

“I think politics has always been in sport,” Rublev said. “Everyone knows that. But I believe that if you unite and do good things for peace, tennis … can be an example of that, maybe other sports will follow, and in general maybe one day sport can be without politics.”

Rublev believes that tennis can be a game changer as it is played in many countries and by players from many parts of the world.

“I believe that tennis can be without politics because tennis is something independent. I think it’s one of not many sports that is independent from the rest of sports. We have players from everywhere. We play in every country… .We travel all over the world….I think tennis has a good chance to be outside of politics because yes we have all nations (play)” he said.

Rublev meets the winner of the match between Jack Sock and Maxime Cressy in the second round on Wednesday.

“I have a good history with DC” – Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev at the Citi Open - Day 4
Andrey Rublev at the Citi Open – Day 4

Andrey Rublev has fond memories of the Citi Open, having reached his first ATP 500 semi-final at the tournament four years ago.

In his tournament debut, the then-Russian, ranked 46th, won three matches to finish in the last four but lost to Alex de Minaur. A year later, however, Rublev fell at the opening hurdle in DC after injuring himself in Hamburg.

Following his victory over Draper on Tuesday, Rublev recalled reaching his first ATP 500 semi-final in DC and playing through injury a year later.

“I have a good history with DC because when I first played here in 2018, it was my first ever semi-final at ATP 500 level. So it was a special moment for me. Then when I came in 2019, the last time I didn’t have an easy time because I had just come out from an injury. Everyone told me not to play. I say no, I want to play because I really like Washington.”

Andrey Rublev is aiming to win his fourth title of the year this week after winning Marseille, Dubai and Belgrade.

Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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