Several Russian Tennis Players Decline Paris Olympics Invitations

Five athletes have declined invitations to compete as neutrals, according to the International Olympic Committee

Despite receiving invitations, several Russian tennis players will not compete in this year’s Summer Olympics in Paris. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed this.

Following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, athletes from Russia and Belarus, a close ally of Moscow, were barred from participating in many international sporting events.

However, in December 2023, the IOC decided to allow individual Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paris Games under a neutral status. This was on the condition that they do not actively support the campaign in Ukraine and are not linked to the Russian military or law enforcement agencies.

The neutral delegation is prohibited from using their country’s anthems, flags, or other national symbols. They will also not be allowed to participate in the opening ceremony of the games. Moscow has condemned these restrictions as discriminatory, arguing they violate the Olympic ideals.

A number of high-ranking Russian tennis players did accept invitations to compete, including Daniil Medvedev, Roman Safiullin, Ekaterina Aleksandrova, Mirra Andreeva, Pavel Kotov, and Diana Shnaider.

However, several other stars declined, including Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Daria Kasatkina, Liudmila Samsonova, and Anna Kalinskaia. Anastasia Potapova is listed as undecided.

Last month, Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), confirmed that Rublev, the world’s No. 6 in singles, would skip the Paris Olympics due to the need for recovery after participating in numerous tournaments.

Regarding Khachanov, Russian sports outlet MatchTV reported, citing sources, that he had health concerns due to a groin injury.

Tarpishchev also stated that the federation had reached a practical agreement with the athletes. Those who participated and won medals in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 would not compete in Paris. “The young athletes will be playing,” he said.

The 2024 Olympic Games will be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11.