ITF suspends Russian and Belarusian federations; tennis players allowed to compete, but not under national flags

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International tennis governing bodies have joined the flanks of organizations around the world that have responded to Russia’s attack on Ukraine by imposing sanctions on the country. In a statement on Tuesday, the bodies said they “are united in our condemnation of Russia’s actions.”

As a result, the WTA and ATP boards have decided to suspend the combined WTA/ATP event, which was scheduled for October in Moscow.

While players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to participate in international tennis events on the Tour and Grand Slams, they cannot compete under the name or flag of their respective countries until further notice.

Additionally, the ITF Board suspended the membership of the Russian Tennis Federation and the Belarusian Tennis Federation and withdrew their entries from all ITF international team competitions. This follows the indefinite cancellation of all ITF tournaments in Russia and Belarus.

“A deep sense of distress, shock and sadness was felt throughout the tennis community following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week,” the governing bodies said in their statement. “Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and we commend the many tennis players who have spoken out and taken action against this unacceptable act of aggression.

“We echo their calls for the violence to end and peace to return.”

Tennis becomes the latest sport to take action against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, FIFA said Russia could not play at home and the team must compete as the “Football Union of Russia” (RFU). The following day, FIFA suspended Russia from participating in international matches until further notice, meaning Russia will not play their European World Cup play-off semi-final against Poland on March 24.

Russian clubs have also been suspended from European competitions by UEFA.

The International Ice Hockey Federation also banned Russia and Belarus from tournaments “until further notice” on Monday, while scrapping Russia as hosts of the 2023 World Junior Championships, which are due to start in December. Shortly after, the NHL announced that it was suspending activities with its Russian partners.

(Photo: Soeren Stache/Getty Images)

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