‘Civilians are dying, they have no right’ – Ukraine calls for ITF expulsion of Russia and Belarus
Russia and Belarus have forfeited their right to host or participate in any events sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), asserted the Ukrainian Tennis Federation (UTF) in a public letter.
Alongside Russia’s push to take the capital Kyiv, Belarus are set to potentially send troops into Ukraine to aid in the invasion.
In addition, Belarus has agreed to host Russian nuclear weapons within their territory.
As such, the Ukrainian Tennis Federation saw fit to call for the expulsion of both nations’ federations from the ITF.
“Civilians are dying, including women and children; civilian infrastructure is collapsing,” the letter reads.
“This is a full-scale war that will push our country back decades.
“Russia and Belarus do not have the right not only to hold international competitions on their territory, but also to participate in all ITF team and individual tournaments abroad.”
While the ATP and WTA do not fall under ITF jurisdiction, two of the ATP top 10 are Russian, world number seven Andrey Rublev and newly crowned world number one Daniil Medvedev.
However, the ITF is responsible for the Davis Cup, Billie Jean King Cup and Olympic tournaments, all of which saw huge Russian success last year.
The men of the Russian Tennis Federation won the Davis Cup and the women won the Billie Jean King Cup.
Karen Khachanov won Olympic silver in the men’s singles, while the mixed doubles final was an all-Russian affair as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Rublev took gold over Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev.
Finally, WTA world number three Aryna Sabalenka and 16th ranked two-time Slam champion Victoria Azarenka are both Belarusian.
The ITF is yet to publicly respond to the letter.
The Russian invasion has already seen punishments handed out to the nation from other sporting bodies.
In particular, FIFA has banned Russia from hosting matches on home soil, and has ordered them not to play under their national flag, play their national anthem at games and must play under the name ‘Football Union of Russia’.
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