The Russian port city, St. Petersburg, is due to host the second edition of the Northern Palmyra Trophies tournament, which begins on December 1st and will run for three days. At least 14 players have signed up for this controversial event, including retired ATP and WTA stars.
The women's lineup will feature the likes of Veronika Kudermetova, Yulia Putintseva, Anastasia Potapova, Jasmine Paolini, and Diana Shnaider. There has been widespread negativity on social media surrounding the involvement of these players, with some sections calling for them to be penalized.
Amid the ongoing in Ukraine, many tennis fans believe it is unethical and morally wrong for players to set foot in Russia and take part in a tennis event in any capacity, and should instead stand in solidarity with Ukraine. According to the UN Human Rights Office, at least 10,000 civilians have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.
The ATP and WTA broke their silence on the discourse on Monday and issued a statement to Reuters. Both bodies do not endorse the event but stated that tennis players - classified as "independent contractors" - are at liberty to play any exhibition tournament during the offseason.
"This event is not affiliated with the WTA nor is the WTA supportive of the event being held. 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 offseason."
"ATP does not currently place restrictions during the offseason related to exhibition events and, as independent contractors, players are able to choose where they compete."