The WTA has declared that it will not penalize players who participate in a Russian exhibition event this weekend.
The upcoming Northern Palmyra Trophies tournament, unaffiliated with the WTA, will take place from December 1st to 3rd in St. Petersburg. It will showcase players from both the WTA and the men’s ATP Tour. This tournament, supported by Russian energy company Gazprom, is occurring amidst Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine.
The governing body of women’s tennis stated that this event is not connected to the WTA and the WTA does not endorse its occurrence. They also mentioned that players on the WTA Tour have the choice to compete in exhibitions during the off-season without facing any consequences, as they are independent contractors.
No response was received from the ATP Tour representatives regarding the request for comment.
Some of the participants in the WTA event include Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan, who reached the quarter-finals in the French and US Open, Anastasia Potapova, ranked 28th in the world from Russia, and Veronika Kudermetova, also from Russia and a former quarter-finalist at the Roland Garros.
According to the website of the event, the ATP players comprise of Russia’s Karen Khachanov who is ranked 15th in the world, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, and France’s Adrian Mannarino.
In 2022, Wimbledon prohibited Russian and Belarusian players from participating, resulting in the removal of ranking points for the event that year. However, they have been granted the opportunity to compete as neutrals in the current year.
The United Nations Human Rights Office reported last week that over 10,000 civilians in Ukraine have lost their lives since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.