Tennis: Russian and Belarusian players banned from a women’s tennis tournament in Prague

AP , Friday 28 Jul 2023

Russian and Belarusian players will not be allowed to participate in next week’s Prague Open, the organizers of the women’s tennis event said Friday.

Aryna Sabalenka
FILE - Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus reacts as she plays Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in a women's singles semifinal match on day eleven of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Thursday, July 13, 2023. A year out from the Paris Olympics, and nearly a year and a half since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, officials governing the many sports on the Olympic program are still split on how to treat Russian athletes. Photo: AP


The announcement came a day after police prevented a Russian player from entering the country, organizers said.

Miroslav Maly, the director of the hard-court tournament, didn’t identify the player. Maly said she was the first participant with a Russian passport to arrive in the country.

He said organizers approached other Russian and Belarusian players through the Women’s Tennis Association to tell them not to travel to Prague.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus was to play singles in Prague while three Russians, Diana Shnaider, Polina Kudermetova and Erika Andreeva, were to play in qualifying.

The WTA Tour allows Russians and Belarusians to play tournaments as neutral athletes.

The Czech government has banned athletes from Russia and Belarus from sports competitions on Czech territory because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, Russian tennis player Vera Zvonareva was banned from entering Poland for a WTA tournament in Warsaw.

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