Swiatek: Tennis faulted by not banning Russians

Products You May Like

Tennis missed an opportunity to send a strong message by failing to impose a blanket ban on players from Russia and Belarus after the invasion of Ukraine, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek said.

Wimbledon banned players from the two countries last year after the invasion started but said in March that it would now accept them as neutral athletes. The 2022 tournament was the first time players were excluded on grounds of nationality since the immediate post-World War II era, when German and Japanese players were banned from the championships.

“After World War II, German players were not allowed as well as Japanese and Italian [players], and I feel like this kind of thing would show the Russian government that maybe it’s not worth it,” Swiatek told the BBC on Wednesday. “We are just athletes, a little piece in the world, but sport is pretty important and sport has always been used for propaganda. … Tennis, from the beginning, could do a bit better in showing everybody that tennis players are against the war.

“Tennis didn’t really go that way, but now it would be pretty unfair for Russian and Belarusian players to do that because this decision was supposed to be made a year ago.”

Russian and Belarusian players have been competing on the tours and at the other Grand Slams as neutral athletes.

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who won this year’s Australian Open, has said she struggled to understand the “hate” in the locker room.

Swiatek described the locker room atmosphere as “pretty tense”.

“It’s not their fault they have a passport like that. … Their situation is pretty complicated, and it’s hard for them to speak out loud about it,” Swiatek said. “On the other hand, we all have some kind of impact, and anything that would help stop the Russian aggression, we should go that way in terms of the decisions the federations are making.”

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Spanning stijgt voor de Madrid Open 2024
De Madrid Open 2022
France wint brons op de Senior Plus Worlds
Emma Raducanu reaches quarter-finals in Stuttgart
Rafael Nadal’s Early Exit from the Barcelona Open: A Lesson in Resilience