Medvedev – a French tennis player of Russian origin
Daniel lives and trains in France, but this does not prevent him from being our compatriot in every sense
The former minister of sports of the Moscow region and now the deputy of the State Duma Roman Teriushkov congratulated our best tennis player Daniil Medvedev on his first trophy in 11 months in a very peculiar way. The politician, who earlier called the change of sports citizenship “treason”, said that the owner of the Davis Cup and the ATP Cup in our team is “the French tennis player of the Russian origin”. The reason for such a harsh wording is that the best tennis player in the world after the introduction of sanctions removed the Russian flag from his profile in social networks, as well as the fact that Daniel permanently lives on the Côte d’Azur and allegedly has French citizenship.
The question of “our” or “not our” in big sports is a very painful one. Even in individual disciplines, too much revolves around national identity. Moreover, in some cosmopolitan sports (such as tennis), this status easily becomes “everything is complicated. An athlete can be born in one country, start his career in another, and play for a third. Dozens of members of our national teams still live and train abroad all the time. And vice versa – many athletes competing under other flags are still in Russia and train with our specialists.
Can an athlete’s desire to train in good conditions with foreign coaches be a reason for accusations of betraying the Motherland? Especially if this requires a residence permit or even a second passport? In my opinion, to lump everyone together, especially at this time, is completely wrong. And each situation must be studied individually. For example, Daniil Medvedev and our most famous tennis player Maria Sharapova have completely different stories. But first of all, let’s find out what the point of Deputy Teriushkov’s accusations are.
Always considered himself a Russian
As you know, Medvedev moved to the Côte d’Azur in 2014, when he was already 18 years old. Daniel spent his entire childhood in Moscow, went to a Russian school, watched “The Irony of Fate” on New Year’s Eve, was involved in domestic sports schools and culturally is one hundred percent our compatriot. Unlike Sharapova, who spent her childhood in the U.S., where she was formed as a person and as an athlete. And where she stayed after her career. The only reason for Medvedev to move to Cannes was a professional necessity – the climate and transport logistics are more suitable for tennis.
Daniil’s parents told in interviews that they considered many options – Finland, Sweden, and even Canada. They chose France only because the elder sister of the future world champion Yelena got master’s degree of the University of Nice in 2010 and then got married there. Despite the move, Medvedev continued to stay in the Russian Tennis Federation system, played for the junior teams and received a wild card to the Kremlin Cup. Daniil said that during this period he, like many of his Russian colleagues, received an invitation to move to the national team of Kazakhstan, but abandoned the idea.
I have always considered myself a Russian and dreamed of representing my country on the international scene,” Medvedev said. – I live and train abroad so I can do my best. But I truly love Russia and I want to win the Davis Cup for our country. And I’m playing individual tournaments just for myself. I play for myself and my family. And for Russia – they will always support me there.
Son of Russian parents and husband of Russian wife
Does Daniil have a French passport? Perhaps Deputy Teriushkov has some insider information on this subject, but it has never been mentioned officially. Medvedev definitely has Russian citizenship – otherwise he simply wouldn’t be able to represent our country at the Tokyo Olympics. And our laws so far do not forbid Russian citizens to have a second or even a third passport, as long as they are not civil servants or members of the military. Not to mention the residence permit, without which a long-term stay in another country is impossible in principle.
Some Russian sportsmen confessed in interviews that they received passports of other countries in addition to ours just to solve visa problems. It is very actual for tennis, by the way, because top players hold more than 20 tournaments a season, often in 20 different countries, and in the current situation it can be a serious logistical problem. But does wanting to do his job better make a professional a “cheater”? Should Medvedev now refuse to play in “unfriendly countries” simply out of principle?
Actually, Medvedev already missed Wimbledon solely because of his Russian sporting nationality and has shown no desire to play under another flag after that. Yes, he removed the tricolor from his social media profile when he was forced to compete in neutral. But did it make the son of Russian parents, the husband of a Russian wife and a Russian national team player a “French tennis player”? Of course, in tennis in particular and in sports in general there are different approaches to the concept of patriotism. But Daniil is definitely not the one who should be accused of its absence.