ITF ambiguous statement on Russians: will they be able to play Paris Olympics?

A new ITF note has created a lot of confusion over the admission of Russians and Belarusians to the Olympics

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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ITF ambiguous statement on Russians: will they be able to play Paris Olympics?
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"The International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee will allow qualified and eligible athletes with Russian and Belarusian passports to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games as Individual Neutral Athletes (Ain) and at the Paralympic Games as Neutral Paralympic Athletes (Npa).

The ITF confirms that tennis players from these nations will be able to participate in Olympic and Paralympic tennis competitions in an individual and neutral capacity if they respect the IOC's AIN and IPC's NPA principles. Neutral athletes will be required to meet the selection and eligibility requirements set out in the applicable ITF regulations.

The ITF's decision is in line with most international federations regarding individual competitions and the athletes who will participate in the games this summer. The ITF position also follows the existing international tennis policy, adopted in March 2022."

With this press release, ITF issued an official note ruling on the possibility of admitting Russian and Belarusian tennis players to the Olympic Games in Paris, in the summer of this year.

Will Russians and Belarusians be able to attend the Paris Olympics?

However, the statement did not clarify the doubts of recent weeks due to a small aspect that is still unclear. No Russian and Belarusian tennis player meets the eligibility requirements due to the ITF's decision to exclude their respective nations from the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean King Cup as early as 2022.

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ITF© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

The detail was explicitly specified by the federation, which did not suggest any exemption for these players. The fate remains uncertain for athletes such as Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka, Andrey Rublev and Victoria Azarenka this summer.

Everyone, now involved in the combined WTA and ATP in Indian Wells, will have to wait to define their programming for the next few months.

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