Iga Swiatek, the World No. 1 tennis player, has expressed her disappointment over the tennis community’s failure to impose a ban on Russian and Belarusian players. Swiatek believes that the decision to allow players from these countries to compete in the sport was a missed opportunity to send a strong message to Moscow.
She feels that tennis could have done better in showing the world that athletes are against war and that sport should not be used for propaganda. The Polish tennis star believes that the decision to allow players from these countries to compete as neutral athletes was unfair, especially given that the ban was supposed to be imposed a year ago.
Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world, was the only Grand Slam to impose a ban on players from Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. However, the tournament has now decided to accept Russian and Belarusian players as neutral athletes.
This decision has disappointed Swiatek, who believes that tennis could have sent a stronger message to the Russian government by excluding players from the country. She believes that sport has always been used for propaganda and that tennis should have taken a stronger stance against war and aggression.
The decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus from the 2022 tennis tournament was the first time in the sport’s history that players were excluded on the grounds of nationality since the post-World War Two era.
During this time, German and Japanese players were barred from the championships. Swiatek believes that tennis missed an opportunity to take a strong stance against war and aggression by failing to impose a ban on players from these countries.
She believes that tennis players are just athletes, but the sport has always been used for propaganda. Tennis, in particular, could have done better in showing the world that athletes are against war and aggression.