MASON, Ohio — One week after Wimbledon announced it would ban players from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine, the Western & Southern Open said it would not follow suit.
The organization said it plans to align with the policies of the Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women's Tennis Association, which states "banning athletes from competing solely based on their country of origin is not allowed."
When asked about whether they had a policy on Russian athletes in place for the competition, Western & Southern issued a statement:
The Western & Southern Open acknowledges the difficult decision made by the All England Club to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to the Wimbledon Championships in response to the unique set of circumstances relating to their government’s guidance. We will align with the ATP and WTA policies regarding the hosting of athletes, which currently state that banning athletes from competing, solely based on their country of origin, is not allowed.
The competition's current roster hasn't been released yet, so it's unclear how many Russian players plan to compete in the Western & Southern Open.
In 2021, Russian player Daniil Medvedev was the top-seeded competitor until he unexpectedly lost to fellow Russian Andrey Rublev during the tournament.
Single session tickets for the event went on sale Tuesday morning at 11 a.m.
The annual Western & Southern Open plans to be back in full force in August, after a rocky re-launch in 2021.
The competition was canceled in 2020 for the COVID-19 pandemic, but returned in August 2021. However, ongoing spread of the delta variant of the virus caused major players like Venus and Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to cancel their participation.