Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at the US Open this year, but only under a neutral flag, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced on Tuesday; world No 1 Daniil Medvedev will be able to defend his men’s singles title.
The US Open will not follow Wimbledon’s lead and will allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at this year’s US Open, which begins on August 29.
Players from Russia and Belarus are not being allowed to compete at Wimbledon later this month, a move which prompted the men’s ATP and women’s WTA Tours to strip the Grand Slam of its ranking points.
But the US Open will allow players from Russia and Belarus to compete this year despite the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
It means Russia’s world No 1 Daniil Medvedev will be able to defend his title.
A statement from the United States Tennis Association read: “The USTA will allow individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in the 2022 US Open, but only under a neutral flag.
“Alongside the other Grand Slams, the ITF, the ATP and the WTA, the USTA, which owns and operates the US Open, has previously condemned, and continues to condemn, the unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
“The USTA, standing with these other tennis entities, supported the banning of the Russian and Belarusian Tennis Federations from the ITF, and therefore all international team competitions, and the directive for players from those countries to play under a neutral flag when competing outside of international team competitions.
“We recognise that each organisation has had to deal with unique circumstances that affect their decisions.
“Based on our own circumstances, the USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to compete at the 2022 US Open.
“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’ programme. In addition, the USTA will introduce a broad, comprehensive set of initiatives to amplify existing Ukrainian humanitarian efforts, including committing to significant financial support, for which details will be announced soon.”
Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President, said: “Tennis has done much through Tennis Plays for Peace for humanitarian support of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the need for help only continues to grow.
“The USTA will be responding very soon with a broad set of initiatives that will include significant financial assistance and other programmes to further support humanitarian relief and the people of Ukraine.” — skysports.