Grand Slam legend urges WTA and ATP to accept Elina Svitolina’s ultimatum
Mats Wilander believes the WTA and ATP should accept Elina Svitolina requesting neutrality for Russian and Belarusian players as it’s a ‘fair and temporary’ solution.
Ukrainian World number 15 Elina Svitolina recently delivered an ultimatum to tennis’ organising bodies when she announced she will not play against any Russian or Belarusian players should the WTA, ATP or ITF fail to take any action.
She also revealed she will donate all the prize money earned from various tournaments to aid the Ukrainian war effort.
With Russian sports teams being banned from other sports, tennis could be forced to take a similar stance.
FIFA have banned the Russian football team from the 2022 Qatar World Cup and UEFA have similarly suspended all Russian football teams until further notice.
In an interview with Eurosport, seven-time Slam champion Wilander said “It’s a fair suggestion.
“I don’t think you can put it on the Russian players themselves, but I do think that the professional tennis circuit, you’re not really representing your country as you are playing the tournament, you’re just representing yourself.
“It’s professional tennis and it’s not that you are winning for your country.
“It’s not the Olympics, it’s not the Davis Cup, it’s not the Billie Jean King Cup. So I think the ATP and WTA can make a stance and say that you can play the tournament.
“We’re just going to remove any association with your country, there’s not going to be your country’s flag next to your name, there’s not going to be the name of your country after your name or before your name.
“And we’re not going to mention your country when we write about you as you have won or lost your match.
“Then it would be a choice that the Russian player themselves have to make. Are they okay to play under those circumstances?
“I think it’s fair and I think it’s a temporary situation. And I do think the ATP and the WTA can go out and make a stance. They don’t have to disagree or agree with any politics. Just disassociate the player with the country of Russia.”
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