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24 Jun, 2022 09:43

Another country bans Russian tennis players

After they were blocked from Wimbledon, Russian and Belarusian players will barred from another tournament in Europe
Another country bans Russian tennis players

The Latvian tennis authorities have confirmed that Russian and Belarusian players will be banned from appearing at a women’s tournament in Liepaja next month. The move is said to have been agreed with the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The western Latvian city is due to host the relatively low-key ITF W60 Liepaja Open from July 11 to 17, as confirmed by an announcement on the website of the Latvian Tennis Federation this week.

Included in the statement is the declaration that Russian and Belarusian players will not be welcome.

“On June 7, 2022, the Latvian Tennis Union reached an agreement with the International Tennis Federation that the Liepaja international tennis competition for women will take place in July this year without the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes,” read the message.

The news was picked up online by tennis journalist Jannik Schneider, who shared an Instagram screenshot from Russian player Marina Melnikova of an email informing her that she would have to withdraw from the event.

According to Schneider, players received an ITF message but with no explanation if this was “according to the rules or not,” and allegedly with no insight from the Player Panel.

The ITF’s ‘W60’ event in Latvia – so named because of the $60,000 prize fund on offer – is significantly lower-profile than events on the WTA tour and the Grand Slam tournaments.

It nonetheless stands out as going against the ITF, WTA, and ATP’s stance that Russian and Belarusian players should be allowed to compete under neutral status.

Latvia joins the UK in banning Russian and Belarusian players from action after they were blocked by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Wimbledon organizers the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) from appearing at any British tournament this summer. 

The Wimbledon ban led to the grass court showpiece being stripped of its rankings points by the WTA and men’s counterpart the ATP, effectively turning it into a lucrative exhibition tournament.

Back in April, the Norwegian Tennis Federation said it supported the Wimbledon ban and that its stance was backed by fellow federations from Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark.

But many elsewhere have spoken out against the decision to ban players such as Russian men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev from Wimbledon, with Serbian great Novak Djokovic describing the move as “crazy.”

Both the ATP and WTA have suggested the ban against Russian and Belarusian players is discriminatory.