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US Open tennis to allow Russian, Belarusian players under neutral flag

US Open tennis to allow Russian, Belarusian players under neutral flag

TENNIS: Players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete in the 2022 US Open under a neutral flag, the US Tennis Association announced yesterday (June 14).

TennisUkraine
By AFP

Wednesday 15 June 2022, 02:00PM


Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete under a neutral flag at the 2022 US Open. Photo: AFP

Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete under a neutral flag at the 2022 US Open. Photo: AFP

“The USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to compete at the 2022 US Open,” the organisation said in a statement.

The move comes after the ATP and WTA stripped Wimbledon of ranking points after the grass-court Grand Slam tournament banned Russian and Belarusians.

Ukrainian former player Sergiy Stakhovsky immediately condemned the US Open decision.

“You cannot put a price tag on being able to live with yourself,” tweeted Stakhovsky, who retired from tennis earlier this year and has joined Ukraine’s reserve forces in Kyiv.

“I salute Wimbledon, the only entity which has a moral code.”

The International Tennis Federation, the ATP and WTA Tours have all condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus.

They banned the countries from international team competitions and issued directives that players from those nations compete under a neutral flag in other competitions.

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“The USTA will work with the players and both tours to use the US Open as a platform to further the humanitarian effort of the ‘Tennis Plays for Peace’ program.”

The USTA also said it would introduce initiatives to help ongoing Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.

“Unfortunately, the need for help only continues to grow,” said USTA president Mike McNulty.

“The USTA will be responding very soon with a broad set of initiatives that will include significant financial assistance and other programs to further support humanitarian relief and the people of Ukraine.”

Wimbledon’s ban has ruled out a swathe of top players, including Daniil Medvedev, the men’s world number one and the reigning US Open champion, as well as last year’s women’s US Open semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka.

They will be eligible to appear at the US Open.

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