US Open allow Russian players to compete as Daniil Medvedev allowed to defend title

Russian tennis players such as Daniil Medvedev will be allowed to compete at this year’s US Open, meaning the world number one is able to defend the title his won last year

Medvedev won his first Grand Slam in his third Major final
Medvedev won his first Grand Slam in his third Major final

The US Open have announced Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at this year’s tournament. The decision is in contrast to the upcoming Wimbledon, which barred players from the two nations from participating.

A statement from the USTA (United States Tennis Association) regarding their eligibility for the tournament reads: “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 by 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 recognize that each organization 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. “

US Tennis Association CEO and Executive Director Lew Sherr told The Associated Press via ABC the decision was made by the USTA Board due to “concern about holding the individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments.” This means world number one Daniil Medvedev will be able to defend the title he won last year, by defeating Novak Djokovic in the final. He conquered the Serbian 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, and prevented the 35-year-old from winning all four major tournaments in the same year – known as the calendar slam.

The American major has taken the opposite stance to Wimbledon, who banned both Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at the All-England Club later this month. According to Sherr, the decision to allow Russian athletes entry to Flushing Meadows was not influenced by what took place in Britain. “Our discussion was really about the merits and really the principles around both sides of this argument. This was not a commercial versus an ethical question, ”they said.

“There are arguments on both sides. Are you perceived as supporting atrocious acts by a government? And at the same time: Would you hold an individual athlete accountable for that? ” A series of conversations were held involving athletes from both Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and both the WTA and ATP before the US Open made its decision.

Daniil Medvedev will be allowed to play at this year’s US Open, but last year’s runner-up Novak Djokovic is unlikely to feature


Getty Images)

The USTA endeavors to assist with the financial assistance for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and will raise awareness about the ongoing war during the tournament. “Tennis has done much through Tennis Plays for Peace for humanitarian support of Ukraine,” Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President said. “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 programs to further support humanitarian relief and the people of Ukraine. “

Sherr added: “This is a horrific situation and we, along with everyone else in tennis, absolutely condemn what is an unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and everything is framed in that context. As difficult as some of these decisions may be , none of it amounts to the difficulties being experienced in Ukraine right now, and the tragedies and atrocities. ”

One player who may be unable to play in New York is Novak Djokovic, who remains unitarian and the US currently has no plans to relax their Covid-19 rules which requires travelers to have the vaccine. US immigration last week dropped the requirement for all incoming passengers to return a negative Covid test before boarding an airplane, but maintained the need for proof of vaccination to be presented on arrival.

The tennis legend missed the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami earlier this year and was deported from Australia due to his unvaccinated status. He is set to compete at Wimbledon in a fortnight’s time however, an event where he has not suffered defeat since 2017.

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