Victoria Azarenka finds herself at center of ugly controversy ahead of US Open
Victoria Azarenka finds herself at center of ugly controversy ahead of US Open: Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk has slammed US Open organizers for their decision to include Belarusia’s Victoria Azarenka in a charity event for her nation ahead of the New York grand slam.
Kostyuk belongs to the club of the most outspoken players to hit out at the way tennis has handled the situation of Russian and Belarusian athletes playing in the sport, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian admitted that she had no contact with Russian players. She called for more WTA events to exclude the Russian players from events.
However, in another twist this week, Kostyuk is rumored to have rejected an invitation to participate in a charity event for Ukraine. This was ahead of the US Open. She rejected it because she was not consulted about Russian and Belarusian representatives being included.
The event will be taking place on Ukraine’s Independence Day on August 24 in the lead-up to the US Open.
Players such as Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek, and Rafa Nadal will be involved.
However, Kostyuk has shown her fury at the organizers for not warning them that players such as Azarenka from Belarus will be taking part.
“When Lesia Tsurenko [of Ukraine] and I found out – I am only talking about us now, because we did not 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,” she told publication BTU.
Kostyuk said that the Ukrainian players should have been consulted on whether they wanted either Russian or Belarusian players to participate. She was devastated by the fact that this will be happening especially on such a special day for her nation.
She later added that Azarenka did not reach out to her, despite contacting other players from her nation.
Kostyuk put up this question about why Azarenka was even participating in the first place.
“There was no open help from her in our direction,” she added.
“She did not communicate with me, but I know that she communicated with [Ukraine’s] Serhiy Stakhovsky, with [France’s] Gaël Monfils in Madrid.”
“There was no dialogue with me personally, although it cannot be said that I was invisible.”
Azarenka is allowed to take part in the US Open, unlike at Wimbledon where players from Russia and Belarus were prevented from playing.
Wimbledon made the extraordinary decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus owing to their nations’ involvement in the invasion of Ukraine.
Both the ATP and WTA went ahead to remove the points after the All England Club issued bans over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Therefore, it meant that Daniil Medvedev, Aryna Sabalenka, Andrey Rublev, and Azarenka did not play in London.
However, the US Open decided to send invitations and allow the athletes from those nations to participate in the final grand slam of the year 2022.