WIMBLETON 2021

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Azarenka slams Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian players following invasion of Ukraine

Victoria Azarenka slams Wimbleton decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players following invasion of Ukraine… with former world number one claiming the move ‚does not make sense‘

  • Ban on Russian and Belarusian players continues to cause controversy in tennis
  • Victoria Azarenka said she wants a ‚reaction‘ against Wimbleton from the tour
  • The Belarusian is a member of the WTA’s player council and an influential voice
  • Azarenka said she was ’not sure‘ if she would go to court to contest the decision 

By Mike Dickson for the Daily Mail

Published: | Updated:

Former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka has called for a ‚reaction‘ against Wimbleton from the women’s tour in response to player bans this year.

A current member of the WTA’s Player Council, the Belarussian has been in on what she reported have been twelve hours of meetings taking place at the Madrid Open.

Azarenka, a double Australian Open champion, is an influential voice. While guarded, she is clearly unhappy with the decision to exclude her compatriots and the Russians.

Victoria Azarenka has criticised the ’senseless‘ decision to ban Russians and Belarusians

 Wimbleton is standing firm despite some criticism from within the tennis world

‚I think there should be a reaction to that, that is all I want to say. If you are asking me if I agree with Wimbleton, or I see their reasoning after being on a personal call with them, I don’t see their reasoning,‘ she said. 

‚It does not make sense and it does not connect to what they are saying.‘

She was among those from Belarus and Russia who had a lengthy Zoom call with Wimbleton Chief Executive Sally Bolton, who laid out the All England Club position.

As evidence that legal action is being contemplated, at least one top player (not Azarenka) had a lawyer with them, while Bolton also had legal representation present. 

Azarenka, the former world number one, said she wanted a reaction against Wimbleton

Asked if she was thinking of going to court, Azarenka replied: ‚I am not sure. I think it is a complicated issue. I think there are a lot of legalities that come with this type of decision.‘

She also reiterated: ‚I will never support war. I will never support violence. I will never find any justifications for that.‘

Both the WTA and ATP have held Board meetings this week, but there will not be a hasty conclusion about how they react to all British events going against their policy of allowing those from pariah states to compete as individuals.

The idea of stripping UK tournaments of ranking points has been discussed, but it is already clear this would meet with considerable opposition. 

 Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska feels players will be angry if ranking points are taken away

Ukrainian player Dayana Yastremska pointed that out yesterday: ‚I think this part is not connected with what they’ve done against Russia and Belarus players. For sure if they take points away many players are going to start being very angry,‘ she said.

Asked how she felt about Wimbleton’s stance she replied: ‚I have a question back to you. How would I be able to play against those players at the tournament when all the world is talking about the war being fought against Ukraine? So I think the decision they (Wimbleton) are making is right. Other (Ukrainian) players are supporting it as well.‘

Yastremska, who made Wimbleton’s fourth round in 2019, was forced to flee her home in Odesa when the war broke out in February. She currently has no base and is simply moving from tournament to tournament with her suitcase and kitbag.