Wimbledon chief speaks to Express Sport about who will open competition
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Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka wants to see action taken against Wimbledon and the LTA after their ban on Russian and Belarusian players. As a member of the WTA Player Council, the double Grand Slam winner has been involved in meetings in Madrid this week where removing all ranking points from the Grand Slam was discussed.
The Belarusian also joined a strained conference call with Wimbledon last week where one high-profile player was accompanied by her lawyer.
Speaking at the Madrid Masters about the Wimbledon ban, world No.17 Azarenka said: “I think there should be a reaction to that, that is all I want to say.
“When you take action, there are consequences. The one that Wimbledon takes, the one that WTA might take. 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.
“It does not make sense and it does not connect to what they are saying. I have made my stance very clear on the issue. I will never, ever support war. I will never support violence. I will never find any justifications for that. That is all I can say right now.”
The LTA also faces potential fines from the WTA and ATP while the removal of ranking points would hit the fields at warm-up events at Queen’s Club and Eastbourne.
But Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska backed the bans. “How would I be able to play against those players at the tournament when all the world is talking about the war that is being fought against Ukraine?” said the world No.92. “So I think the decision they are making is right.
“I think the decision they made is very respectful, they did the right thing. What they’ve done for the Ukraine is the right thing. Other players (Ukrainian) are supporting it as well.
“For sure if they take points away many players are going to start being very angry.”
No.9 seed Emma Raducanu will make her debut here on Friday in the fourth match in the Arantxa Sanchez Stadium – the second court – against world No.49 Tereza Martincova.
The US Open champion, who reached the quarter-finals in her first ever professional claycourt event last week, said: “I am gradually enjoying it more and more but last week in Stuttgart was definitely fun for me. But I think that was probably one of the nicest surfaces for my game because it played exactly like a hard court but I could slide on it easily.
“It was very slippery so I could slide. It is definitely going to be a challenge this week because it is outdoors and I feel like I am going to classify it as a proper claycourt, dependent-on-the-weather tournament which indoors you don’t really get. I feel like it is going to be a surface I am going to be good on and I will enjoy but it might not come right away.”
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