Former world No. 1 Belarusian Victoria Azarenka has said the Wimbledon ban on players from Russia and her country makes no sense. The two-time Grand Slam champion demanded the tennis governing bodies to take action against the decision.
“It does not make sense and it does not connect to what they are saying. If you are asking me if I agree with Wimbledon or I see their reasoning after being on a personal call with them, I don’t see their reasoning,” Azarenka told reporters in Madrid on Thursday.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which hosts the grass-court Grand Slam, took the decision in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The All England Lawn Tennis Association chairperson, Ian Hewitt reiterated the reasons for banning Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year’s Wimbledon, starting from June 27.
The AELTC’s decision was swiftly condemned by the men’s and women’s tours. The ATP and the WTA denounced the AELTC decision as “discriminatory”, with Steve Simon, the women’s tour chief, last week warning of “strong reactions.”
Azarenka, 32, ranked 17th in the world, won her opening round at the WTA 1000 event in Madrid on Thursday.
“I think there should be a reaction to that, that is all I want to say,” said Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013.
“I have made my stance very clear on the issue. I will never, ever support the war. I will never support violence. I will never find any justifications for that. That is all I can say right now.”