Ukraine: Russian players allowed at National Bank Open

Players from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to participate in the upcoming National Bank Open tennis tournaments this August in Toronto and Montreal, at least for now.

Tennis Canada told the Canadian Press that there is no outright ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in tournaments. The statement comes in response to an announcement on Wednesday that players from those countries will be banned from the prestigious Wimbledon tournament near the end of June because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Tennis Canada will follow the recommendations and decisions of the ATP and WTA regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian players,” Tennis Canada said in a statement. “At the moment, players from these countries are allowed to compete in international tennis events on the Tour but they cannot compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice.”

That means Russian stars like world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 8 Andrey Rublev, as well as female No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, will qualify to compete at the National Bank Open. Tennis Canada, however, does not rule out the possibility that that will change.

“Just as we have done since the beginning of the conflict, we will continue to monitor the situation and will react accordingly with the cooperation of the tennis governing bodies,” the organization said.

“Tennis Canada stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and we send our thoughts to all Ukrainians living at home or abroad. We really hope that peace comes soon.”

Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge wrote a letter in March saying that Canada would not agree to Ukraine’s request that it stop issuing new tourist visas and work permits to Russian and Belarusian athletes. . St-Onge recommends that national sports organizations take guidance from their respective international sports federations.

The men’s National Bank Open will run from August 5-14 in Montreal, while Toronto will see women compete from August 6-14.

This Canadian Press report was first published on April 20, 2022.

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