BREAKING: Victoria Azarenka PULLS OUT of exhibition match supporting Ukraine after backlash from its players
Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka PULLS OUT of exhibition match in support of Ukraine… after criticism from players of the war-torn country and their refusal to play if she was involved
Former world No. 1 Victoria will not play in the USTA’s Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition on Wednesday evening.
The Belarusian received criticism from some of Ukraine’s tennis players, namely Marta Kostyuk, who rejected an invite to the fundraiser as a result of Azarenka’s involvement.
USTA announced in a statement that after ‘careful consideration and dialogue’ Azarenka would not be involved in proceedings.
‘In the last 24 hours, after careful consideration and dialogue with all parties involved, Victoria Azarenka will not be participating in our “Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition” this evening,’ the statement read.
‘Vika is a strong player and leader and we appreciate her willingness to participate.
‘Given the sensitivities to Ukrainian players, and the on-going conflict, we believe this is the right course of action for us.’
Kostyuk, who has been a constant voice on the war in Ukraine, lashed out at the Azarenka’s initial involvement in the charity event.
‘I did not understand the reason why they called Victoria Azarenka,’ she said, via Tennisuptodate. ‘There was no open help from her in our direction.
‘She did not communicate with me, but I know that she communicated with Serhiy Stakhovsky, with Gael Monfils in Madrid.
‘There was no dialogue with me personally, although it cannot be said that I was invisible.
‘Maybe I’m not that visible because I’m not ranked high enough to be talked to, but that’s not what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the fact that I’ve been active enough since the beginning of the war.
‘So I don’t understand why she’s called, I can’t understand why she’s even going to do this. Knowing what kind of relationship she has with all of us.
‘It didn’t happen that she met with all of us and said, they say, girls and boys, here’s 10 thousand for you, please, you know who needs to be helped. It wasn’t close to that. She has no personal good relations with us,’
Kostyuk went on to suggest there has been a lack of care and sensitivity from the USTA as it pertains to the thoughts and feelings of the tour’s Ukrainian players.
‘Of course, I received an invitation. I think all our players got them.
‘When Lesya Tsurenko and I found out – I’m only talking about us now, because we didn’t ask anyone – so when we found out that there would be representatives of Russia or Belarus at this event, I immediately said that I will not participate in this.
‘First of all, no one asked the Ukrainian athletes if they wanted any of these players to be present...TAP.TO.READ MORE.
‘Of course, no one is interested in this, it is the Independence Day of Ukraine, but what Ukrainians think is not interesting, is it?