Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka says she is "devastated" over what is happening in Ukraine as she has called for peace and unity. Russia started its invasion of Ukraine last Thursday and their attacks have been supported by Belarus.
Azarenka, one of the most popular athletes from Belarus, has called for an end to the war. "I am devastated by the actions that have taken place over the last several days against and in Ukraine. It's heartbreaking to see how many innocent people have been affected and continue to be affected by such violence.
Since my early childhood, I have always seen and experienced Ukrainian and Belarusian people, as well as both nations, friendly and supportive of one another. It is hard to witness the violent separation that is currently taking place instead of supporting and finding compassion for each other.
My heart is with everyone directly and indirectly impacted by this war that is causing such pain and suffering for so many. I hope and wish for peace and an end to the war," Azarenka said in a message posted on her Twitter account.
Azarenka permitted to continue playing
On Tuesday, the ATP, WTA and ITF released a joint statement in which they condemned Russia's invasion. Russia and Belarus have been banned from competing in team events but players from those countries will be able to continue competing in international tournaments.
However, they will not compete under the name or flag of Russia and Belarus. "The international governing bodies of tennis stand united in our condemnation of Russia’s actions and, as a result, are in agreement with the following decisions and actions," the statement read.
*The WTA and ATP Boards have made the decision to suspend the WTA / ATP combined event, scheduled this October in Moscow.
*The ITF Board has made the decision to suspend the Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation membership and to withdraw their entries from all ITF international team competition until further notice.
This action follows the cancellation of all *ITF tournaments in Russia and Belarus indefinitely.
At this time, players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete in international tennis events on Tour and at the Grand Slams. However, they will not compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus until further notice."