Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka was excluded from the US Open's "Tennis Plays for Peace exhibition" following discussions with Ukrainian players. For Wednesday, a charity event for Ukraine was scheduled at Flushing Meadows.
"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. Vika is a strong 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," the USTA said in a statement posted.
Victoria Azarenka has been excluded from the exhibition for Ukraine, despite her willingness to participate.
Marta Kostyuk questioned why Azarenka was invited at first place
In an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Ukrainian tennis star Kosytuk made it clear that she would not participate at the US Open charity event if players from "aggressor countries play." "I've got an invitation to join, I think, all of Ukrainian players have got them.
No one asked Ukrainian players if they would be fine to see Russia/Belarus players there. I won't play if players from aggressor countries play," Kostyuk said. "Nobody asked our opinion on such an idea to invite Russian and Belarusian players.
Nobody is interested in that. It’s on Ukraine’s Independence day [& also the six-month mark of Russia’s invasion], but what the Ukrainians actually think, nobody is interested in that too." During the same interview, Kostyuk reflected on a fan incident in Cincinnati.
In Cincinnati, a woman was thrown out of stadium for wearing a Ukrainian flag during the match between two Russian players, Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova. "The thing is, WTA told us, that not a single player supports Russia, that they are all good.
But we see that the Ukrainian flag somehow triggers them? And the players who support war/Putin do trigger us, nobody cares about that. All our requests to do something were ignored," Kostyuk said.