Entry denied: Russian and Belarusian tennis players not permitted to enter Czech Republic

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Wilson Blade 9

A Russian WTA player was denied entry into the Czech Republic ahead of the Prague Open, as the country’s government recently passed a resolution prohibiting athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in events on Czech soil.

Even though the WTA allows Russians and Belarusians to compete, only without representing their homeland and displaying national flags or symbols, tennis players from those countries are facing increasing restrictions in Europe. At the end of June, the Czech Republic passed a resolution that bans athletes from Russia and Belarus, empowering the police to revoke visas issued to nationals from these countries. Following an incident where an early arriving player for the Prague Open was denied entry into the Czech Republic, the tournament organizers advised other Russian and Belarusian players not to travel for the event.

A week ago, Russian Vera Zvonareva was not allowed to enter Poland due to being perceived as a threat to state security and public safety. The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist thus couldn’t compete at the Warsaw Open.

In addition, a Polish ATP challenger event initially made a controversial announcement stating their unwelcoming stance towards Russian players. However, they later removed the statement, choosing instead to express solidarity with Ukraine by displaying their flag and offering sympathies for the struggle for life and freedom that the Ukrainian people were enduring.

Ukrainian tennis player Dayana Yastremska has called for sanctions against 16-year-old Russian player Mirra Andreeva, expressing concern over her social media likes: “Recently, I asked that sanctions be taken against Mirra Andreeva for having liked social media posts which clearly concerned the atrocities committed to Ukrainians and the WTA simply indicated it would not intervene.” (source: ESPN)

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