WTA issues statement regarding players signing up for offseason Russian exhibition



by DZEVAD MESIC

WTA issues statement regarding players signing up for offseason Russian exhibition
© Getty Images Sport - Dylan Buell

The WTA has said in a statement that players participating in a Russian exhibition won't be facing any sanction because the rules state that they are allowed to participate in exhibition events during the offseason. However, the WTA also highlighted that they do not support players deciding to play in an exhibition event in Russia.

This week, it was announced that St. Petersburg would be hosting an exhibition event featuring men's and women's tennis stars. The event is set to take place between December 01-03 as several top-100 players have confirmed their participation.

There will be two teams - The Lions and The Sphinxes. The Lions team consists of Karen Khachanov, Anastasia Potapova, Alexander Shevchenko, Viktoriya Tomova, Jasmine Paolini, and Laslo Djere. On the other side, the Sphinxes will be represented by Veronika Kudermetova, Dusan Lajovic, Diana Shnaider, Roberto Bautista Agut, Adrian Mannarino, and Yulia Putintseva.

WTA's statement on players participating in the St. Petersburg exhibition

"This event is not affiliated with the WTA nor is the WTA supportive of the event being held. Players compete on the WTA Tour as independent contractors and, at their discretion, have the ability to participate in an exhibition without penalty during the off-season," the WTA said in a statement to Reuters.

Reuters also contacted the ATP but received no response as of yet. Shortly after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ATP, WTA, and ITF suspended all tournaments in Russia and Belarus. Also, Russia and Belarus have been banned from competing in team events such as the Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup, and the United Cup.

At the time, some were also calling for Russian and Belarusian players to be banned from competing in all international tournaments. However, the ATP and WTA refused to go that route, explaining that Russian and Belarusian players individually aren't to blame for the actions of their respective governments.