Huge twist for Aussie tennis stars after stunning Russia ban

·2-min read
Pictured left is Australian tennis star Ash Barty alongside a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Australia has earned a spot in the Billie Jean King Cup after President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine saw Russia banned from competing in the teams event. Pic: Getty

Australia has emerged as one of the big winners from the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) decision to ban Russia from team events, in response to President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The Aussie women have earned a Billie Jean King Cup promotion following the ITF decision to ban last year's winners Russia from teams competitions.

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As the highest-ranked team among the 2021 losing semi-finalists, Australia will take Russia's place in the Finals scheduled to be held in November.

After advancing from the group stage in Prague last year, Australia - without World No.1 Ash Barty - bowed out following losses in both singles rubbers in their semi-final against Switzerland.

Australia were due to compete in a Cup qualifier against Slovakia next month but the tie has been called off.

Slovakia will receive a bye and also advance directly to the Finals, as will Belgium who were scheduled to play Belarus.

Australia, Slovakia and Belgium will join 2021 runners-up Switzerland at the 2022 Finals alongside the winning nations from the remaining seven qualifiers in April.

A host nation hasn't been decided.

Russia, Belarus both banned from team events in tennis

Russia were banned from defending their Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup titles following a February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus, a key staging area for the invasion, which Russia says is a "special operation", have also been banned from the international team competitions.

In the men's team event, holders Russia will be replaced by Serbia in the Davis Cup finals.

The Serbs, led by Novak Djokovic, had already been given a wild card for this year's finals without passing through the qualifiers.

Pictured here, Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in 2021.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in 2021. Pic: Getty

However, Serbia earn direct passage into the Davis Cup finals following the suspension of Russia, due to the fact they are the highest-ranked losing semi-finalist in 2021.

That wild card will now pass to another country, chosen from the 12 losing nations from the 2022 qualifiers.

Russia beat Croatia to win the Davis Cup title in December.

The group stage of the finals will take place across four cities in September before the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are hosted at a fifth city in November. Those venues have yet to be announced.

with agencies

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