Russia banned from team events, players can still compete on ATP, WTA Tours

People demonstrate against Russian invasion of Ukraine, in London
A protester holds up a Ukrainian flag at a protest against Russia's massive military operation in Ukraine, at Trafalgar Square in London, Britain February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 1 (Reuters) - Russia has been banned from defending its Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup titles but its players will still be allowed to compete at the Grand Slams and in regular tour events.

The decision by tennis authorities follows Russia's invasion of Ukraine last week. Belarus, a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia says is a "special operation", has also been banned from the international team competitions.

"The international governing bodies of tennis stand united in our condemnation of Russia's actions," the ATP, WTA, International Tennis Federation and the Grand Slams said in a joint statement.

Russian and Belarusian players will be able to play on the elite ATP and WTA Tours but not under the name or flag of their countries, the governing bodies said.

Men's world number one Daniil Medvedev and number six Andrey Rublev helped Russia beat Croatia in the 2021 Davis Cup final in Madrid in December a month after the Russian women won the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague.

The tennis authorities also suspended Moscow's combined WTA-ATP event scheduled for October.

It is unclear whether Russia will be able to compete in the lucrative team-based ATP Cup in Australia. Russia made the semi-finals of the 2022 event in January and won the 2021 tournament.

The ITF said it had suspended the Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation's memberships and withdrawn their entries from all ITF team competition until further notice.

The decision followed the ITF's cancellation of all its tournaments in Russia and Belarus.

Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Additional reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis, Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.