Navratilova, who was born in 1956 within the Czechoslovak capital of Prague, remembers playing a Russian in a junior tournament there not long after the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries invaded in 1968 to suppress a democratic movement.
“I comprehend it’s emotionally so difficult,” she said. “I used to be 13, almost 14. I desired to beat this junior, and, the truth is, after I shook her hand after I did, I said, ‘See, your tanks can’t beat us!’ So, I get that. You’re feeling like you’re playing to your country, and it hurts! And I knew she had nothing to do with it, but I still took it personally. So, I get where Kostyuk is coming from, how much it hurts, but I don’t think you may punish people to that level.”
Medvedev, who has been based in southern France or Monte Carlo since his early teens, said that in his view, “tennis is a really individual sport.”
He said that as long as he had the possibility, “I’m going to be there to attempt to play for the fans, play for other people, for myself also, after all.”
But though each the lads’s and girls’s tours have reiterated their support for the present approach, Medvedev knows there aren’t any guarantees. Though he has never played his finest tennis within the desert heat of Indian Wells, one also has to wonder how much the uncertainty and the war are impacting his mind-set or how much it may need impacted his tennis against Monfils on Monday, as Medvedev’s precise game collapsed in the ultimate set amid a flurry of double faults and uncharacteristic errors.
“Let’s see how the situation evolves,” he said of permitting Russian athletes to compete.
Next stop: the Miami Open, where the lads’s principal draw begins March 23 and where, with Djokovic still not expected to play due to travel ban, Medvedev can reclaim the No. 1 rating by reaching the semifinals.
But that, at this stage, shouldn’t be the largest of his concerns.