Victoria Azarenka is a member of the player's council and she thinks tennis missed a big opportunity to show how sport can unite.
Azarenka made her way back to tennis after missing a large chunk of the grass season and Wimbledon due to the bans on Russian and Belarusian players.
A native of Belarus, Azarenka took a firm stance against any kind of war earlier this year but she was also disappointed to see the bans. Speaking after beating Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska in San Jose, Azarenka said:
“I’m on the Player Council, so I can’t completely cut myself off. I take that part of my job very seriously. I think what people missed here was a big opportunity to show how sports can unite. I think we missed that opportunity, but I hope we can still show it.”
Asked how she dealt with the ban personally, Azarenka responded:
“How did I deal with it? I always try to find a solution that is beyond myself and what can be better because I love to help people. I love to find solutions from difficult situations. I think what was hard was the absolute ignorance and carelessness from the other parties. I think that was a tough part to digest, because you’re coming in with options, opportunities and your heart, and it’s met with basically a ‘We don’t care.’ But we all move on. It didn’t change my view and my perception when it comes to helping people, and it won’t. I don’t believe that part of me will ever go away, so we’ll just move on.”