It has been revealed that Russians and Belarusians will get access to the US openbut the country’s tough stance on those who have not been vaccinated seems to be becoming apparent Novak Djokovic barred from another grand slam.
Djokovic’s campaign in 2022 started horribly for his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and how Tennis Australia and the federal government handled the situation.
The Serbian champion was startled again when Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open to capture a record 21 grand slam singles titles† The legendary Spaniard moved to 22 when he achieved Roland-Garros glory†
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Djokovic will compete in Wimbledon but, in one blow to the 35-year-old, US border rules still require proof of vaccination.
Chief executive and executive director of the US Tennis Association, Lew Sherr, whose group leads the US Open, told The Associated Press that the USTA board has decided to allow Russians and Belarusians into the tournament due to “concerns about holding individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments”.
The US Open’s decision contrasts with that of Wimbledon organizers, who have banned Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Victoria Azarenka from the tournament this year over the war against Ukraine.
Sherr said athletes from Russia and Belarus would play in Flushing Meadows under a neutral flag — an arrangement that has been used at several tennis tournaments around the world, including Roland-Garros.
Since Russia began its attacks on Ukraine in February, Russian athletes have been prevented from participating in many sports, including the World Cup qualifying play-offs. Belarus helped Russia in the war.
Russia has also hosted two international team events in tennis in which it was the reigning champion: the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup.
The Wimbledon ban was immediately criticized by the ATP and WTA, along with some prominent players such as Djokovic.
The ATP and WTA both said in May that they would not award any ranking points for Wimbledon this year, an unprecedented rebuke from the All England Club.
Some players, including four-time champion and former No. 1 Naomi Osaka, said they would consider postponing Wimbledon.
The ATP has said that all points earned at Wimbledon in 2021 will fall from a player’s record and no new points will be earned this year.
The WTA has not decided exactly how last year’s All England Club ranking points will be treated, but no new points can be added based on how a player performs there this time around.
Sherr told the AP that what happened at Wimbledon — both the All England Club’s move to keep players from certain countries out and the response from the tours — played no part in the USTA’s choice to hire Russian and Belarusian players. to let in.
“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 issue,” Sherr said.
“There are arguments on both sides. Are you seen as supporting horrific acts by a government? And at the same time: would you address an individual athlete about this?”
Sherr said the ATP and WTA tours have held a series of talks with athletes from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus and various governing bodies in tennis, and the heads of both tours addressed the USTA board before the decision.
The 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.
“This is a terrible situation and we, along with all other tennis players, absolutely condemn what is an unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and everything is put in that context,” Sherr said.
“As difficult as some of these decisions are, it all comes down to the difficulties currently being experienced in Ukraine, and the tragedies and atrocities.”
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