The move by the world number one was noted by eagle-eyed social media users
Daniil Medvedev has removed the Russian flag from his Instagram profile, social media users have pointed out, after Russian and Belarusian tennis stars were hit with sanctions by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The move from Medvedev was picked up on after he dropped the Russian tricolor from his Instagram bio.
The flag had previously been seen beside his description as a ‘pro tennis player’, but no longer features on the account which is followed by just over 950,000 people.
The star’s Twitter account did still have the Russian white, blue and red as of Friday afternoon.
The new world No. 1 tennis player Daniil Medvedev of Russia – the first player other than Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, or Murray to get to No. 1 since February 2004 – has deleted the Russian flag from his Instagram profile. pic.twitter.com/rhHtCk0aYJ
— Kimberly Givant (@KimberlyGivant) March 3, 2022
Medvedev, 26, recently ascended to the world number one spot, becoming the first new name in 18 years to achieve the accolade outside of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
But like his tennis star compatriots, Medvedev will now be forced to compete without his nation’s name and flag after the ITF sanctioned Russia and Belarus earlier this week in light of the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian and Belarusian tennis federations have been suspended “until further notice”, while teams from the two nations will not be able to compete in this year’s Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup – where the Russian Tennis Federation are reigning champions in both events.
ITF suspends Russia and Belarus from ITF membership and international team competition
Full statement ⬇️
— ITF (@ITFTennis) March 1, 2022
When asked about the disappearance of the Russian flag, Medvedev’s agents reportedly said they were “not willing to comment” on the matter.
Russian Tennis Federation chief Shamil Tarpishchev meanwhile said it had likely been a necessary step.
“I haven’t talked to Daniil yet. But now there are such sanctions, the IOC prohibits the use of our Russian flag. Even on social media. This is a necessary measure,” Tarpishchev told Spot-Express.
Fellow Russian top-10 star Andrey Rublev does not have his country’s flag in his Instagram bio, but as of Friday afternoon both world number 22 Aslan Karatsev and world number 25 Karen Khachanov were still displaying the Russian tricolor.
Earlier this week, Medvedev issued a social media message in which called for “peace between countries.”
“I want to speak on behalf of every kid in the world. They all have dreams, their life is just starting, so many nice experiences to come: first friends, first great emotions,” wrote the star.
“Everything they feel and see is for the first time in their lives. That’s why I want to ask for peace in the world, for peace between countries.
“Kids are born with inner trust in the world, they believe so much in everything: in people, in love, in safety and justice, in their chances in life. Let’s be together and show them that it’s true, cause every kid shouldn’t stop dreaming.”
Medvedev officially usurped Novak Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings after the Serb’s remarkable 361-week reign came to an end when he suffered a shock defeat to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Medvedev reached the tennis peak despite failing to avenge his Australian Open final defeat to Rafael Nadal in Mexico last week, losing to the Spaniard in the semifinal of the tournament in Acapulco.