The ban on Russian and Belarusian players entering Wimbledon, which was put in place last year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Belarus’s support of their efforts, was lifted last week. While the players were allowed to compete under a neutral flag in other ATP and WTA tournaments, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek believes that tennis should have done better from the beginning and barred players from these two countries from taking part in any competition.
Swiatek cited the lack of leadership from the WTA and ATP after World War Two started, which caused chaos in the tennis world, with the atmosphere in dressing rooms being “tense.” Swiatek stated that she still has players “approaching” her for advice and help on the matter. She also believes that “anything that would help stop the Russian aggression, we should go that way in terms of the decisions the federations are making.”
However, Swiatek acknowledged that it is not the Russian and Belarusian players’ fault for having a passport from those countries. She recalled shaking hands with Daria Kasatkina, who is against the war and dreams for it to end. Swiatek respected Kasatkina’s bravery in speaking out given the complicated situation in their country.