Aryna Sabalenka has questioned the effectiveness of Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s tournament.
The world No.5, who hails from Belarus, was among those forbidden from contesting the event due to the ongoing war waged by Russia against Ukraine.
Sabalenka and athletes from the region have been on the receiving end of sanctions globally that have prevented them from competing or representing their country.
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She will contest the Australian Open in 2023, albeit under a neutral flag.
Top women’s players Victoria Azarenka, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova as well as leading men Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov were notable omissions.
“This is really terrible because no one supports war – no one,” Sabalenka told The Age.
“The problem is that we have to speak loud about that … but why should we scream about that in every corner? It’s not going to help at all. We have zero control under this situation.
“I’m just really disappointed sport is somehow in politics. We’re just athletes playing their sport. That’s it. We’re not about politics. If all of us could do something, we would do it, but we have zero control.
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“They banned us from Wimbledon, and what did it change? Nothing – they’re still doing this, and this is the sad [part] of this situation.”
Whether Wimbledon continues its ban remains to be seen, although reports out of Europe indicate the ban will be lifted in some shape.
Wimbledon organisers were slapped with heavy fines after their action this year, which had the knock-on effect of removing associated ATP player ranking points.
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