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Pavlyuchenkova says denied entry to Czech Republic, to miss Prague Open

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova said she was refused entry to the Czech Republic and will not be playing in qualifying for the WTA Prague Open.

“I will not be able to participate in Prague next week,” the 32-year-old said on Instagram.

“I continue my preparation on hard courts for US Series now. See you in Cincinatti and US Open,” she said in English.

The former world No. 11 made her statement after the Czech Republic Interior Ministry said on Friday that an unnamed Russian tennis player, arriving to play in qualifying for the WTA Prague Open, was refused entry.

The post said that police in Prague “checking a Russian citizen at the airport found reasons to end her temporary stay. She has already left the Czech Republic”.

Czech officials added that no other Russian and Belarusian players would travel to the country “according to the information available”.

In June, in response to Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, the Czech government banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing on Czech territory.

The Czech National Sports Agency said that the government decision meant it was possible “to invalidate an individual visa in cases where the Russian or Belarussian sportsperson arrived in the Czech Republic from within the Schengen area without border controls”.

The WTA said that the actions of the Czech authorities contravened their policy.

“Individual WTA players whose nationality is Russian/Belarusian continue to compete on the Tour on a neutral basis,” said the WTA.

“Despite their neutrality, some WTA players are being denied by Czech government authorities the ability to compete at the WTA 250 event scheduled to be held in Prague next week. WTA rules state that all players must be allowed to compete on the WTA based solely on merit, without discrimination.”

Russian and Belarusian tennis players compete under a neutral flag on the main men’s and women’s tours.

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