July 20, 2024
Iga Swiatek says tennis ban on Russian, Belarusian athletes ‘was supposed to be made a year ago’

Top rated-ranked tennis pro Iga Swiatek criticized the sport’s governing bodies on Wednesday, declaring officials should have taken a more robust stance in banning Russian and Belarusian gamers following the invasion of Ukraine. 

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been equipped to participate in WTA and ATP functions as neutral athletes. Wimbledon announced in 2022 that these athletes would be banned from opposition, a evaluate that was reversed this calendar year. 

"The Championships" logo is seen at Centre Court during previews for the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club June 21, 2007, in London. 

“The Championships” brand is observed at Centre Court during previews for the Wimbledon Garden Tennis Championships at the All England Garden Tennis and Croquet Club June 21, 2007, in London.  (Ryan Pierse/Getty Illustrations or photos)

But Swiatek told the BBC Wednesday she felt tennis need to have been additional aggressive in having a stand from Russian aggression. 

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“Just after World War II, German players had been not allowed, as properly as Japanese and Italian (gamers). And I sense like this variety of thing would exhibit the Russian govt that it’s possible it really is not worth it,” the Polish tennis professional advised the British outlet. 

“I know it can be a small issue since we are just athletes, a very little piece in the environment, but I really feel like activity is really important and activity has constantly been applied in propaganda.”

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates a point against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia during their women’s singles finals match of the 2022 U.S. Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Sept. 10, 2022, in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates a stage versus Ons Jabeur of Tunisia during their women’s singles finals match of the 2022 U.S. Open up at USTA Billie Jean King Countrywide Tennis Heart Sept. 10, 2022, in the Flushing community of the Queens borough of New York Metropolis. (Sarah Stier/Getty Photos)

Many intercontinental sports activities governing bodies are continuing to take a tricky line from athletes’ participation from Russia and Belarus.

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An Olympic qualifying event for women’s fencing in Poland was canceled this 7 days soon after the Global Fencing Federation voted final month to enable athletes from Russia and Belarus to resume competition. 

But banning those athletes from tennis now would be “unfair,” Swiatek reported. 

“Tennis didn’t genuinely go that way, but now it would be rather unfair for Russian and Belarusian gamers to do that because this choice was supposed to be made a calendar year ago.”

Daniil Medvedev of Russia autographs a Russian flag after defeating Marcos Giron of the U.S. in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 16, 2023. 

Daniil Medvedev of Russia autographs a Russian flag right after defeating Marcos Giron of the U.S. in their to start with spherical match at the Australian Open up tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 16, 2023.  (AP Photograph/Aaron Favila)

Swiatek did express empathy for individuals athletes towards the war, acknowledging the complexities of them possessing to speak out against it.  

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“It is really not their fault they have a passport like that, but, on the other hand, we all have some sort of impression. And I experience like nearly anything that would assistance quit the Russian aggression, we should go that way in terms of the conclusions the federations are building.

“I actually regard [speaking out against the war] simply because I sense it really is brave for Russian athletes to say that mainly because their problem is pretty sophisticated, and occasionally it really is really hard for them to discuss out loud about it.”