The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing at this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has presented Belarus as a key staging area for troops and equipment , continues to draw criticism from renowned figures.
According to Reuters (h/t ESPN), Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who sits on the WTA players’ council, criticized the bans while speaking in Madrid this week.
“If they ask me if I agree with Wimbledon or see their reasoning after being on a personal call with them, I don’t see their reasoning,” the former Women’s World No. 1 explained. “It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t connect with what they’re saying.”
Earlier this month, men’s World No. 1 Novak Djokovic called the bans a “crazy” move.
“I have made my position on the matter very clear. I will never, ever support war,” Azarenka added during his remarks. “I will never support violence. I will never find any justification for that. That’s all I can say at this point.”
Both the ATP and WTA tours released statements condemning the bans. According to Sky Sports, WTA boss Steve Simon recently warned: “I think you will see some strong reactions coming from us, but what those are and how far they will go is yet to be determined.”
As of the last Friday in April, Azarenka was ranked No. 17.