ST PETERSBURG: The WTA said that while it does not support an exhibition event being held in Russia this weekend players who take part in it will not be sanctioned.

The second edition of the Northern Palmyra Trophies tournament will be held from Dec 1-3 in St. Petersburg and features players from both the WTA and men’s ATP Tour.

The event, which is sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom, is being held while Russia’s continues its war with Ukraine.

“This event is not affiliated with the WTA nor is the WTA supportive of the event being held,” the governing body of women’s tennis told Reuters on Monday.

“Players compete on the WTA Tour as independent contractors and, at their discretion, have the ability to participate in an exhibition without penalty during the off-season.”

Representatives for the men’s ATP Tour did not respond to a request for comment.

Among the WTA players taking part are former French and US Open quarter-finalist Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, Russian world number 28 Anastasia Potapova and former Roland Garros quarter-finalist Veronika Kudermetova, who is also from Russia.

ATP players include world number 15 Karen Khachanov of Russia, Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and France’s Adrian Mannarino, according to the event’s website.

Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian players in 2022, which prompted the tours to strip the event of ranking points that year, but allowed them to return as neutrals this year.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022, the UN Human Rights Office said last week.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2023

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