WTA and ATP: No sanctions for playing in exhibition event in Russia. TWITTER

In a world where every sport is a separate entity when it comes to the treatment of Russian and Belarusian athletes, the WTA and ATP are among the few organisations that allow them to compete in virtually every tournament, albeit as neutrals, with no flag and no anthem in the event of victory.

In a related development, the 'Northern Palmyra Trophies', an exhibition team tournament sponsored by Russian energy giant 'Gazprom' to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from 1-3 December, has been in the news for days .

It'll be played at the KSK Arena (formerly the Sibur Arena), a facility with a capacity of just over 7,000-seat facility where Zenit St. Petersburg play its VTB Basketball League games and which is located on the so-called 'Krestovsky Island'.

The tournament has attracted the presence of some talented players and both the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) have announced that they will not impose any sanctions on players taking part in the event, which runs from Friday to Sunday this week.

The men's field includes Russia's Karen Kachanov and Aleksandr Shevchenko, Kazakhstan's Aleksandr Bublik, Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, France's Adrian Mannarino and Serbia's Dusan Lajovic and Laslo Djere, among others. Despite the organisers' keen interest, Spain's Rafa Nadal declined to take part, stating he will not be playing in December either as he continues to recover from a long-term injury.

Russia's Karen Kachanov is one of the main attractions of the tournament. © Getty Images
Russia's Karen Kachanov is one of the main attractions of the tournament. © Getty Images

On the women's side, the tournament has announced that Veronika Kudermetova, Anastasia Potapova and Diana Schneider from Russia, Italian Jasmine Paolini, the Kazakh of Russian descent Yulia Putintseva and Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova will be among the players.

"This event is not affiliated with the WTA, nor does the WTA endorse this event. Players compete on the WTA Tour as independent contractors and they have the option to play in an exhibition during the off-season at their discretion without penalty," the WTA said.

"The ATP does not currently has a ban on exhibition tournaments between seasons. Players are free to choose as individuals where they wish to participate," the governing body told Reuters.