The tension between Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian tennis players has reached a new peak, just hours before the start of the WTA 250 tournament in Prague. In fatct, Russian and Belarusian tennis players will not be allowed to enter the Czech Republic to participate in the tournament in Prague, according to the regulations set by the government.
The news shook the whole world of tennis, and it was confirmed by the tournament director, Miroslav Maly, who explained, underlining how an athlete was blocked by the police at the border: "She was the first with a Russian passport to land, and the management of the tournament fully adheres to the provisions of the local authorities.
We do not expect any players with Russian or Belarusian passports to take part in the tournament."
WTA officially expresses on Russians and Belarusians ban from Prague
The reaction of the WTA was not long in coming to this situation, which released an official note on Twitter: "The WTA emphatically condemns the war in Ukraine and the reprehensible actions of the Russian government.
The WTA also continues to support the Tour’s Ukrainian athletes – as well as all WTA athletes – who face immense challenges as professional athletes while many of their loved ones and their country face attacks from Russia.
Individual WTA players whose nationality is Russian/Belarusian continue to compete on the Tour on a neutral basis. Despite their neutrality, some WTA players are being denied by Czech government authorities the ability to compete at the WTA 250 event scheduled to be held in Prague next week.
WTA rules state that all players must be allowed to compete on the WTA based solely on merit, without discrimination. We will continue to review the situation as we factor important considerations around these complex geopolitical issues." The first round matches of the main draw will begin on Monday: further news is expected on the matter.
WTA statement pertaining to athletes denied entry into Czech Republic:
The WTA emphatically condemns the war in Ukraine and the reprehensible actions of the Russian government. The WTA also continues to support the Tour’s Ukrainian athletes – as well as all WTA athletes – who… — wta (@WTA) July 28, 2023