Russian Daniil Medvedev -- the reigning US Open men's champion -- will be able to defend his title.
CNN  — 

Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at the 2022 US Open, the US Tennis Association (USTA) announced on Tuesday, despite Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The USTA’s decision comes after Wimbledon became the first elite tennis event to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes. The men’s ATP and women’s WTA Tours later stripped the grand slam of its ranking points in response to the move.

Instead of following Wimbledon’s lead, the US Open will adopt the approach used by the ATP and the WTA since the invasion where Russian and Belarusian players compete under a neutral flag.

As a result, the current world No. 1 and reigning men’s singles champion, Daniil Medvedev, will be able to defend his title. He defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the final last year to claim his maiden grand slam.

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who reached the women’s semifinals last year, will also be allowed to compete.

Sabalenka is currently the women's world No. 5.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the USTA’s CEO Lew Sherr said the decision had been made because of “concern about holding the individual athletes accountable for the actions and decisions of their governments.”

A statement released by the USTA condemned the invasion of Ukraine and recognized that “each organization has had to deal with unique circumstances that affect their decisions.”

“Based on our own circumstances, the USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to compete at the 2022 US Open.”

The USTA committed itself to providing “significant financial support” to the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.

“The USTA will work with the players and both Tours to use the US Open as a platform to further the humanitarian effort of the ‘Tennis Plays for Peace’ program,” the statement added.

The US Open begins on August 29 in New York City.