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Tennis players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to compete this year despite the ongoing war at the US Open in Ukraine, which prompted Wimbledon to ban those players.

Lou Sher, CEO and executive director of the US Tennis Association, whose team hosts the US Open, said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday that the USTA board had “decided to allow Russians and Belarusians to enter the tournament due to concerns about catching individual athletes.” Be accountable to the actions and decisions of their governments. “

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Russia's Daniel Medvedev Jenson returns a shot from Brooksby at the Miami Gardens on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Miami Open Tennis Tournament.

Russia’s Daniel Medvedev Jenson returns a shot from Brooksby at the Miami Gardens on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at the Miami Open Tennis Tournament.
(AP Photo / Wilfredo Lee)

Sher said athletes from Russia and Belarus would play in the flushing meadows under the neutral flag – the arrangement was used in various tennis tournaments around the world, including the French Open, which ended on June 5.

The US Open opens on August 29 in New York.

Since Russia launched its attacks on Ukraine in February, Russian athletes have been barred from participating in many sports, including the Soccer World Cup qualifying playoffs. Belarus helped Russia in the war.

Russia has also hosted two international team events in tennis, including the current champion: the Billy Jean King Cup and the Davis Cup.

The All England Club, which begins the Wimbledon main-draw on June 27, announced in April that it was banning all Russians and Belarusians from their fields – the current men’s No. 1, Daniel Medvedev of Russia, is not eligible to participate. Medvedev is the defending champion at the US Open.

The Wimbledon ban has drawn immediate criticism from the WTA and the ATP, as well as from some prominent players, such as defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Serena Williams returns to Wimbledon with a wild card entry

File - Russia's Daniel Medvedev defeats Novak Djokovic of Serbia to clinch the US Open tennis championship men's singles final.

File – Russia’s Daniel Medvedev defeats Novak Djokovic of Serbia to clinch the US Open tennis championship men’s singles final.
(AP Photo / John Minchillo, file)

In May, the WTA and ATP announced they would not give Wimbledon any ranking points this year, an unprecedented reprimand to the All England club. He said some players, including four-time major champion and former No. 1 Naomi Osaka, would consider staying away from Wimbledon.

ATP states that all points earned at Wimbledon in 2021 will fall from the player’s record and no new points will be earned there this year. The WTA has not yet determined how last year’s ranking points from the All England Club will be considered, but this time new points will not be added based on how well the player is doing there.

“The WTA (USTA’s) decision is appreciated and supported, reflecting the fundamental principle that all players have the opportunity to compete on the basis of talent and without discrimination,” said WTA CEO Steve Simon, who looks forward to working with his tour. USTA to provide “additional assistance efforts for Ukraine”.

Sher told the AP that what happened with Wimbledon – both the All England club’s move and tour response to keep players away from certain countries – played no role in allowing USTA’s Russian and Belarusian players.

“Our discussion was really on merits and the principles that surround both sides of this argument. It’s not a commercial and ethical question,” he said. “There are arguments on both sides. Do you feel that you are supporting atrocities by a government? And at the same time: do you hold an individual athlete accountable for it?”

Sher said the WTA and ATP professional tours have held a series of talks with athletes from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, as well as with various governing bodies in tennis, and that the heads of the two tours have addressed the USTA board’s decision.

Russia's Daniel Medvedev returned a shot to Poland's Hubert Hurkaz during the Miami Open on March 31, 2022 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Daniel Medvedev of Russia returned a shot to Poland’s Hubert Hurkaz during the Miami Open on March 31, 2022 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

USTA plans to provide additional financial assistance for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and will use the US Open as a platform to raise awareness about the war.

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“This is a terrible situation and we, along with everyone in tennis, strongly condemn the unprovoked and unjust attack on Ukraine by Russia and everything was designed in that context,” Sher said. “Although some of these decisions were difficult, none of them equated to the difficulties and tragedies and atrocities currently being experienced in Ukraine.”