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Mauresmo says Russian players welcome at Roland-Garros but warns of sanctions in case of pro-Putin statements
Mauresmo says no fair decision to take in current situation and also said she has tried to reach out, unsuccessfully, to Chinese tennis player Shuai Peng on several occasions
Roland-Garros Tournament Director Amelie Mauresmo confirmed on Thursday on French radio that Russian & Belarusian players would be allowed to play at the French Open later this month. But the two-time Grand Slam champion warned of possible sanctions in case any players made pro-Putin statements.
The issue of Russian and Belarusian players competing in professional tennis events across the world has turned into a global flash point. Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association have banned players from the two countries to compete in any tournaments in the United Kingdom this year based on directional guidance by the UK government to sporting bodies.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the ATP Tour is considering withholding ranking points from the grass court events in the UK, including Wimbledon, if the ban is upheld.
Speaking on national radio France Inter on Thursday, Mauresmo recognised the sensitivity of the situation, saying that no fair decision was possible.
“It’s very complicated, probably there is no fair decision to take. We keep the line of what all the European governments – and other governments – decided in March, i.e. national teams of Russia and Belarus banned, but not the athletes as individuals, as long as they play under strict neutrality. We will be very meticulous on that.”
“If any of them should have pro-Putin statements in the media, there will be sanctions fur sure.”
No news: Roland-Garros Tournament Director Mauresmo on Peng Shuai
The first woman to hold the position of Tournament Director at Roland-Garros, Mauresmo also revealed that she had tried to reach Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai on several occasions through different channels but did not get any response.
Mauresmo confirmed that she had “no news” about Peng since the Chinese player was seen at the Beijing Olympics in February.
Late last year, Peng accused a top Chinese official of sexual misconduct in a post on Weibo, which was deleted in less than an hour. After that, Peng went silent and was not seen for the next couple of weeks. She resurfaced on a few occasions , including once at a Chinese junior tournament and another time at the Olympics, and also spoke to the IOC Chairman and L’Equipe but many believe that those appearances were stage-managed by the Chinese government to avoid a backlash.