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Saturday, October 1, 2022

The United States Open has committed to hosting a fund-raising exhibition match and contributing $2 million to Ukraine

At competitions, the setup has led to tension in the locker rooms and other shared areas. Players from Ukraine, such as Yastremska and Lesia Tsurenko, have expressed their unease about competing among Russian and Belarusian players. They believe that some of the Russian and Belarusian players favour President Vladimir V. Putin.

Then, in April, the British Parliament gave instructions to the All England Club, which is in charge of organising Wimbledon, and the Lawn Tennis Association, which is in charge of several other tournaments in Britain, to prevent players from Russia and Belarus from competing in grass-court competitions in Britain during the months of June and July. These competitions are scheduled to take place. The club and the association did the same thing, which prompted the tennis circuits to threaten to penalise the other events and withhold rankings points from Wimbledon.

A few of the Russian players voiced their annoyance. The competition continued without them, including Medvedev, who is now rated number one in the world in the men’s singles event.

Then, in a turn that added an additional layer of complication, Elena Rybakina, who was born and reared in Russia, won the women’s singles title at Wimbledon. This occurred at the same time as Russia intensified its siege of eastern Ukraine. It has been four years since Rybakina started representing Kazakhstan after the former Soviet republic promised to subsidise her growth. This exemplifies the pointlessness of excluding athletes based on their nationality. As was the case with all of the other players from Russia and Belarus whose family still reside in those countries, Rybakina took care to avoid any conversation pertaining to the conflict.

Rublev, Kasatkina, and a number of other elite tennis players from Russia and Belarus, including Azarenka, competed in events in the United States during the last week.

As was the case in the spring, their matches have been played largely without incident, and the players have, for the most part, restricted their post-match comments to matters pertaining to tennis rather than answering questions regarding their feelings regarding the leaders of their respective countries or the victims of the invasion.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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