Tennis players from Russia, Belarus to continue competing in ATP, WTA events

LONDON: Following Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) announced that the players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete in ATP and World Tennis Association (WTA) events.

The decision comes despite many sports governing bodies including IOC, FIFA, UEFA imposing bans on the Russian players.
“A deep sense of distress, shock and sadness has been felt across the entire tennis community following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the past week. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and we commend the many tennis players who have spoken out and taken action against this unacceptable act of aggression. We echo their calls for the violence to end and peace to return,” stated an official joint statement by International Governing Bodies of Tennis.

“The safety of the tennis community is our most immediate collective priority. The focus of the WTA and ATP in particular in recent days has been on contacting current and former players, and other members of the tennis community from Ukraine and neighbouring countries to check on their safety and offer any assistance,” stated further.

The WTA and ATP Boards have made the decision to suspend the WTA/ATP combined event scheduled this October in Moscow.

The ITF Board has made the decision to suspend the Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation membership and to withdraw their entries from all ITF international team competitions until further notice. This action follows the cancellation of all ITF tournaments in Russia and Belarus indefinitely.

At this time, players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete in international tennis events on Tour and at the Grand Slams. However, they will not compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice.

Following rising tension between Russia and Ukraine, the sports fraternity has become proactive and many events in Russia have been cancelled, including the Russian Grand Prix. The Champions League final has also been moved out of Russia and it will now take place in Paris.

UEFA and FIFA have also barred Russia from international football until further notice. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday had announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.” (ANI)