Victoria Azarenka calls for ‘a reaction’ by the WTA against Wimbledon ban
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka believes action must be taken by the WTA in response to the Wimbledon ban on Russian and Belarusian players from this years’ event.
Last week, The All England Club (AELTC) and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) announced that due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, players from the two Europeans nations will not be allowed to play at grass-court events in the United Kingdom, which includes Wimbledon.
The sanctions mean that the US Open champion and world number two Daniil Medvedev and world number eight Andrey Rublev are not currently able to compete.
In addition to these top seeds, there are two more Russian men in the top 30 of the ATP rankings, and six Russian and Belarusian players in the top 32 of the WTA rankings who would have been seeds at Wimbledon, including world number four Aryna Sabalenka.
Many legends of the game, pundits and current players have expressed their thoughts on the ban, with world number one Novak Djokovic branding Wimbledon’s actions as “crazy”, and 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova labelling the sanctions as “the wrong decision”.
In response to the SW19’s ban, the ATP have spoken out against Wimbledon’s plans claiming the sanctions to be “unfair” and have called for players to be allowed to play but not under the flag of their respective nations.
The WTA have also condemned the decision, with the two governing bodies meeting in Madrid to discuss their response to Wimbledon’s announcement – with the hopes of turning Wimbledon into an ‘exhibition event’.
Victoria Azarenka, who is a member of the WTA’s players council and was involved in meetings in Madrid with AELTC chief Sally Bolton, has called for “a reaction” from the WTA to contest the ban.
Speaking after the meeting, Victoria Azarenka told reporters, “There should be a reaction to that.
“If you are asking me if I agree with Wimbledon or see their reasoning after being on a personal call with them, I don’t see their reasoning.
“It does not make sense and it does not connect to what they are saying. I have made my stance very clear on the issue. I will never, ever support war.
“I will never support violence. I will never find any justifications for that. That is all I can say right now.”
The former Australian Open champion was then quizzed if she would take the issue to court, saying, “I am not sure. It is a complicated issue.”
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