Thursday, September 29, 2022
HomeSportsU.S. Open Commits to Fund-Raising Exhibition Match and $2 Million for Ukraine

U.S. Open Commits to Fund-Raising Exhibition Match and $2 Million for Ukraine

The arrangement has caused strain in the locker rooms and other common spaces at tournaments. Players from Ukraine, like Yastremska and Lesia Tsurenko, have spoken about their discomfort with being around Russian and Belarusian players, some of whom, they assume, support President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

“We know how popular he is in their country,” Tsurenko said of Putin earlier this year.

Then, in April, Britain’s Parliament directed the All England Club, which organizes Wimbledon, and the Lawn Tennis Association, which oversees several other tournaments in Britain, to prohibit players from Russia and Belarus from participating in the grass-court events there in June and July. The club and the association followed suit, prompting the tennis tours to withhold rankings points from Wimbledon and threaten penalties against the other tournaments.

Russian players expressed frustration. The tournament went on without them, including Medvedev, now the world’s top-ranked men’s singles player.

Then, in a twist of further complexity, as Russia stepped up its siege of eastern Ukraine, Elena Rybakina, who was born and raised in Russia, won the Wimbledon women’s singles championship. Rybakina began representing Kazakhstan four years ago after the former Soviet republic offered to finance her development, highlighting the fruitlessness of barring players based on their nationality. Like all the players from Russia and Belarus whose families still live in those countries, Rybakina was careful to avoid any discussion of the war.

Rublev, Kasatkina and other top Russians and Belarusians, including Azarenka, all played in tournaments in the United States last week.

Just as in the spring, their matches have been largely without incident and the players have largely limited their post-match comments to tennis and dodged questions about the victims of the invasion or their sentiments about the leaders of their countries.

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