The USTA’s decision comes after Wimbledon became the first elite tennis event to ban athletes from Russia and Belarus. Both the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours subsequently stripped the grand slam of its ranking points in response to the decision.

Instead of following Wimbledon’s example, the US Open will adopt the approach used by the ATP and WTA since the invasion where Russian and Belarus players compete under a neutral flag.

Thus, the current world No. 1 and reigning men’s singles champion, Daniil Medvedev, will be able to defend his title. He beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the final last year to win his first Grand Slam.

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who reached the women’s semi-finals last year, will also be allowed to compete.

In an interview with The Associated Press, USTA CEO Lew Sherr said the decision was made because of “concern about holding individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments.”

A statement released by the USTA condemned the invasion of Ukraine and acknowledged that “each organization has had to deal with unique circumstances that affect its decisions.”

“Based on our own circumstances, the USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to participate in the 2022 US Open.”

The USTA has pledged to provide “significant financial support” to the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.

“The USTA will work with the players and both Tours to use the US Open as a platform to continue the humanitarian effort of the ‘Tennis Plays for Peace’ program,” the statement added.

The US Open begins on August 29 in New York.

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