WTA statement: Russians & Belarusians can play tournaments, but under a neutral flag

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After a seemingly long silence, the international governing bodies of tennis released a joint statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine and restricting Russian participation in the world of tennis.

Shortly after Ukrainian players criticized the WTA for not taking a stance regarding the Russian attack that started on February 24, the WTA, ATP and ITF express “a deep sense of distress, shock and sadness” and explain the level of punishment Russian tennis will undergo.

First of all, decision has been made to suspend the WTA/ATP combined event scheduled this October in Moscow.

Secondly, Russian teams, the defending Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup champions, have been kicked out of both International Tennis Federation team competitions. The same restriction applies to Belarus, as the country whose leader has openly supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. Moreover, all ITF tournaments in Russia and Belarus have been cancelled indefinitely.

Most importantly, Russian and Belarusian tennis players have not been banned from playing tournaments, including Grand Slams. The only thing is that they will not be able to represent their countries, rather, they will play as neutral players, without flags, national anthems, etc.

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