Barbara Schett says recent uncertainty for Russian and Belarusian players has been “very tough” after Wimbledon’s decision to “punish” them.
Wimbledon has banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing at the Grand Slam, which starts on June 27, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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Speaking after the announcement, Schett told Eurosport she was “happy to hear that decision because all the Russian players and Belarusian players who have been banned in Wimbledon, it was a tough choice for them.
“To punish those players who just want to play tennis and be in that sport, it was very tough. So I was very happy to hear the decision from the US Open. As we know, all the Grand Slam tournaments are independent. They can make their own choices. And I was a little bit worried about that.”
The United States Tennis Association explained why they’ve chosen to allow all athletes to compete, with CEO and executive director Lew Sherr saying they had “concern about holding the individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments.”
Schett admits it would have been difficult for the US Open to follow in the footsteps of Wimbledon, as more pressure would fall on the sport’s tours.
“If they’re going to ban Russians, what is the ATP and WTA doing? Are they banning the points again? Will there not be any points? So I think it’s important that they can all play again. And I’m sure all the players are happy about that, too”, she said.
They are not the ones who have or are involved in the war.
One man in particular who will be delighted he is able to compete is world No. 1 and defending US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, with Schett saying, “I’m sure Daniil Medvedev he’s happy he can defend his title as well. So I thought it was good news.”
Last year’s champion in New York received the news while playing at the Halle Open.
“It’s great news,” the Russian said. “I will follow the rules and play where I can play. I just want to show my best tennis.
“I’m happy to be able to defend my title. I have some amazing memories from last year. That was one of the most special tournaments for me.”
The 2022 US Open gets under way on August 29.
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Source: Euro Sports