President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Francesco Ricci-Beatty said that Crimean athletes can play for any country, not just Russia. It is reported by R-Sport with reference to the press service of the organization.

Tennis is an individual sport, and Crimean players are free to represent any country whose passport they have. I believe that sport cannot ignore the political environment, but should not be used for political purposes, the ITF press service quoted Ricci-Beatty as saying.

Thus, the official denied the words attributed to him about the recognition of Crimea as part of Russia. On Wednesday, April 22, Ricci-Beatty in an interview with TASS emphasized that he does not see a problem in the fact that Crimean tennis players compete under the Russian flag and represent the Russian Federation at international competitions.

ITF is the largest governing structure of world tennis, it unites 205 national federations and represents this sport in the International Olympic Committee. The ITF was founded by 13 countries, including Russia, in 1913 under the name ILTF, and later the name was shortened. Under the auspices of ITF, tournaments such as the Federation Cup, Davis Cup, Hopman Cup, annual men's and women's series of competitions are held. Since 1999, the president of the organization is Francesco Ricci-Beatty.