Jun 14, 2022 - Sports

Russian tennis players will be allowed to play at U.S. Open

U.S. Open logo

The U.S. Open logo at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The U.S. Tennis Association said Tuesday it will allow Russian and Belarusian tennis players to compete at the U.S. Open this year.

Why it matters: The decision makes USTA an outlier among sports federations, including the International Tennis Federation, who have banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competitions in the fallout of Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

Details: Russian and Belarusian athletes will have to compete under a neutral flag at the Open, per the announcement.

  • The USTA said it will use the tournament "as a platform to further the humanitarian effort" of its Tennis Plays for Peace program, which has provided humanitarian support for Ukraine.

Context: This decision comes after the men's and women's tennis tours penalized Wimbledon by stripping it of ranking points following that tournament's move to ban Russian and Belarusian competitors.

What they're saying: The USTA "continues to condemn" the invasion of Ukraine, the organization said in the announcement.

  • "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," Chair and President Mike McNulty said.
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