Belarusian tennis star and world number five Aryna Sabalenka expects the Wimbledon organizers to display some openness in allowing players from Belarus and Russia to play in 2023.
They are not really happy to have Belarusians and Russians at their event: Aryna Sabalenka
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the All England Club banned Russians and Belarusians from Wimbledon earlier this year. Sabalenka, the semifinalist of the 2021 edition, was among several high-ranked players barred from the event this year.
“I think I have zero control on this situation. I’m just sitting and waiting for the decision. And whatever happens, happens,” Sabalenka said in an interview with AFP at the World Tennis League in Dubai. “If they’re going to ban us for another year, okay, whatever, I’m going to have fun at home in Miami, I’m going to spend some time with my family and do another pre-season. Whatever they decide, it’s their decision. I don’t care about Wimbledon.”
“I really hope that they will be a little bit more open for us,” the 24-year-old, who hails from Minsk, responded when asked whether the All England Club would lift the ban, “But as last year showed, they are not really happy (to have) Belarusians and Russians at their event.” [H/T Sportstar]
All that being said, Sabalenka is not the only tennis star showing eagerness to see the return of Russians and her fellow Belarusians on the pitch. Last week, British no. 1 player Cameron Norrie expressed his desire to see players from those two countries at the Championships.
“For me, I want the best players in the world to be playing,” Norrie, ranked 14th and the 2022 semifinalist, said in Abu Dhabi last Saturday, “I felt last year was tough for those guys, especially for Daniil (Medvedev) and for Andrey (Rublev), who have a chance of winning Wimbledon; especially as I know how much those guys sacrificed with their careers and their goals are obviously very high to be winning Slams.”
“So I really did feel bad for those guys,” he added. [H/T Sportstar]
As per British Media, the All England Club is expected to make a decision within April, three months prior to the start of Wimbledon in July.