Victoria Azarenka will be one of the many tennis players forced to miss the next edition of the Wimbledon tournament. In fact, the organizers of the Championship decided to exclude Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the London Slam due to the Russian-led war in Ukraine.
All England Club President Ian Hewitt explained: “I would now like to address the issue that is at the center of our attention, namely the desire to deny participation at Wimbledon to athletes from Russia and Belarus.
After long and careful consideration, we have come to two conclusions on which our decisions are based. Even if we accept the participation of Russians and Belarusians with written statements, we run the risk that the Russian regime will use their winning participation as propaganda.
What we cannot accept. We must also ensure that all our actions do not endanger the players or their families. Following government directives, there is no valid alternative to the decision made in this tragic and particular circumstance.”
Azarenka: “Wimbledon? It’s not fair. I want to be there”
Azarenka, who walked off court in Indian Wells in tears, expressed her harsh opinion of the Wimbledon organizers’ choice at a news conference in Madrid.
She said: “I had a two-hour call with the leadership of the LTA and the Wimbledon tournament. I was there, along with all the other representatives from the players’ council.
It was nice to have the opportunity to talk to them, ask them questions and understand their point of view. To be honest, I do not agree with his position: I find it unnecessary and unfair for us, the athletes who work every day to present ourselves in the best conditions in the most important tournaments of the year.
I want to be at Wimbledon. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion firmly: I do not agree with the war, never. I could never justify violence of any kind and against anyone.
I hope the WTA can do something to make the measure regarding our condition less harsh.”