U.S. Tennis Association CEO and Executive Director Lew Sherr, whose group runs the U.S. Open, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the USTA Board decided to let Russians and Belarusians enter the tournament because of “concern about holding the individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments.”
Sherr said athletes from Russia and Belarus will play at Flushing Meadows under a neutral flag — an arrangement that’s been used at various tennis tournaments around the world, including the French Open, which ended June 5.
The U.S. Open starts on Aug. 29 in New York.
Since Russia began its attacks on Ukraine in February, Russian athletes have been prevented from taking part in many sports, including soccer’s World Cup qualifying playoffs. Belarus has aided Russia in the war.
Russia also was held out of two international team events in tennis in which it was the reigning champion: the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup.
The All England Club, where main-draw play for Wimbledon starts on June 27, announced in April it would bar all Russians and Belarusians from its fields — which means current men’s No. 1, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, is not eligible to participate. Medvedev is the defending champion at the U.S. Open.