Women’s Tennis Association CEO Steve Simon does not believe athletes should be banned from competing because of “politics”.
This comes after athletes from Russia and Belarus have not been permitted to compete across a number of sports, including most recently the Winter Paralympics amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“You never know what the future may bring,” Simon told BBC Sport. “But I can tell you that we have never banned athletes from participating on our tour as the result of political positions their leadership may take.”
Simon believes it would take something drastic to change his stance on the situation.
Tennis players can still be prevented from participating however, should local governments forbid them entry into the country.
“It will force us to change our position, because obviously we have to follow the rules of the government,” Simon added. “I feel very, very strongly that again these individual athletes should not be the ones that are being penalised by the decisions of an authoritarian leadership that is obviously doing terrible, reprehensible things.
“But if that happens, which is again part of the overall strategy of making Russia, and Russian citizens, pay the consequence for the decision their government has made, then it won’t be something that we support.”
Simon remains hopeful that the Russian and Belarusian athletes don’t fall victim to the sanctions their countries are being faced with.