In the most significant development, Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete under a neutral flag at this year’s US Open, the US Tennis Association confirmed the news on Thursday. The decision comes as a big relief for the world number 1 tennis player Daniil Medvedev who will now be able to defend his title at last major of the year.
Meanwhile, Medvedev will be forced to sit out of the Wimbledon after the grass-court Grand Slam event banned Russian & Belarusian player after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The USTA’s decision comes two months after the All England Club announced it was restricting players from the two countries from participating in the Wimbledon this year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting massive criticism from players and tennis governing bodies.
U.S. Tennis Association CEO and Executive Director Lew Sherr, told The Associated Press that the board has decided to let players from both the countries enter the tournament because of concern about putting blame on players and holding them accountable for the actions and decisions of their government.
Sherr further informed that Russian and Belarusian players will play at Flushing Meadows under a neutral flag, an arrangement that has been widely used at various tennis tournaments around the world, including the French Open, which ended on June 5.
Responding to the development, top-seeded Daniil Medvedev termed the decision “great,” and claimed that he “just wants to show his best game and will follow all the rules and regulations.” While talking to a reporter after winning his opening match at the Halle grass-court tournament, 6-3, 6-2 against David Goffin, Medvedev stated that he is more than happy to be able to defend his title.
“That was one of my best Tennis tournaments. I have several fond memories of that competition”, he quoted. Notably, Medvedev clinched his maiden major title by outplaying Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, denying the Serb a calendar Grand Slam. The marquee tournament will kick start on August 29 in New York.