Controversy Surrounding ATP and WTA Players at Gazprom Tournament in St. Petersburg

Officials of the women’s tennis association WTA said they would not penalize the players for participating in the weekend exhibition in St. Petersburg. Both the WTA and ATP Tour tennis players will take part in the second annual team competition from Friday to Sunday, despite Russia’s continued war in Ukraine.

“The event is not part of the WTA and is not supported by the WTA either. The players work on the WTA Tour as independent contractual partners and can participate in the exhibition in the off-season without the threat of a fine,” the WTA told Reuters.

The men’s ATP Tour did not comment.

The three-day tournament, called Trofeje Palmyra severu, which refers to the nickname of St. Petersburg, is sponsored by the Russian energy giant Gazprom.

It will be attended mainly by Russian tennis players, such as Veronika Kuděrmětová, Anastasia Potavová and Karen Chačanov, but also the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and the Italian Jasmine Paoliniová.

And that’s exactly what irritated the Ukrainian Tennis Association. “So it’s okay to play for a supporter and fan of Vladimir Putin and his war?” wrote the Ukrainian Tennis Association on the Twitter account.

He also published evidence of how Gazprom chief Alexei Miller publicly supports the Russian president.

According to Ukrainians, the friends of the Russian government also include other sponsors and media partners of the tournament.

“We have asked another tennis federation to comment via email. You can try to argue that it’s just a sport, but that’s hard to believe when Putin’s allies are involved in this event,” the Ukrainian federation added.

Last year, Russian and Belarusian tennis players were one of the few athletes from these countries who could continue to participate in international events after the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops.

The exception was Wimbledon and other tournaments in England, where they were not invited last year. This year they were already allowed to introduce themselves on the London grass.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said last week that more than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24 last year.

2023-11-28 09:45:05
#play #Putin #fan #Tennis #stars #Russian #exhibition

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