‘It’s not going to be something we support’ – WTA chief makes clear his stance on growing concern to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes

The conflict in Eastern Europe has taken its toll on the affected regions. Additionally, the global economy has also taken a hit, with supply chain disruptions and rising oil prices. The sports world is no exception. Additionally, various sports bodies and leagues around the world have made major decisions regarding this dispute that have changed the dynamics of the game. The governing bodies of tennis i.e. ATP, WTA and ITF have followed suit. .

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Recently, the head of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon, gave his opinion on the measures taken against Russian and Belarusian athletes.

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WTA opposes athlete ban due to political tensions

Steve Simon felt it was not fair to ban athletes from competing due to geopolitical tensions. Explaining his point of view, he noted, “You never know what the future may bring. But I can tell you that we have never banned athletes from participating in our tour because of any political positions their leaders might take.

Tennis – WTA Tour Finals – Centro Panamericano de Tenis, Guadalajara, Mexico – November 11, 2021. Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka reacts during her group stage match against Spain’s Paula Badosa REUTERS/Henry Romero

Additionally, Simon added, “So it would take something very big for that to change, but again, we don’t know where that takes us. I strongly believe that these individual athletes should not be the ones penalized by the decisions of an authoritarian leadership that is obviously doing terrible and reprehensible things. But if that happens… it’s not going to be something we’ll support.

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What measures have been taken against Russian and Belarusian tennis players?

There have been growing calls to ban tennis players from Russia and Belarus. However, athletes from these two countries will continue to play individually in tournaments. The condition is that they will have to play under a neutral flag. This is a huge relief for some of tennis’ biggest stars like Daniil Medvedev and Aryna Sabalenka.

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However, the governing body banned both countries from participating in the team events. Therefore, athletes from these countries would not be able to participate in the Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup and ATP Cup. We hope the situation will calm down soon and things will return to normal.

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