Russia, Belarus players to compete at US Open as neutrals

Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be allowed to compete at the US Open under a neutral flag, in contrast to Wimbledon where they are banned.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has adopted the same stance as the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and International Tennis Federation (ITF), as well as the French Open.

It means world number one Daniil Medvedev, a Russian, will be able to defend his men’s singles title.

The USTA added it “has previously condemned, and continues to condemn, the unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia”. 

Wimbledon has been stripped of its ranking points by the ATP, WTA and ITF in response to the decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus.

The governing bodies have stopped short of implementing a blanket ban on all Russian and Belarusian athletes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had advocated. 

However, they have found an ally in IOC President Thomas Bach, who has criticised the All England Lawn Tennis Club for the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon, complaining of Government interference and insisting “there should be no sanction for holding a passport.”

Whereas Russian and Belarusian players have been cleared to play at the US Open, Novak Djokovic remains unable to take part as things stand.

The Serbian star, a three-time US Open winner and 20-time Grand Slam champion, is unvaccinated against COVID-19 so cannot enter the US. –

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