Victoria Azarenka at centre of ugly controversy ahead of US Open

Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk has slammed US Open organizers for including Belarusia’s Victoria Azarenka in a charity event for her nation ahead of the New York grand slam.

Kostyuk has been one 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 she had cut contact with Russian players and called for more WTA events to exclude them from events.

However, in another twist this week, Kostyuk is believed to have rejected an invitation to participate in a charity event for Ukraine ahead of the US Open because she wasn’t consulted about Russian and Belarusian representatives being included.

The event is set to be held 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 are set to be involved.

However, Kostyuk has ripped into organizers for not warning them that players such as Azarenka – from Belarus – are set to take part.

“When Lesia Tsurenko [of Ukraine] 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,” she told publication BTU.

Kostyuk said Ukrainians should have been consulted on whether they wanted either Russian or Belarusian players to participate, especially on such a special day for her nation.

Marta Kostyuk (pictured) celebrating a point.
Marta Kostyuk (pictured) won’t take part in the Ukraine charity event at the US Open because of Belarusian Victoria Azarenka’s involvement. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

She later added that Azarenka hasn’t reached out to her, despite contacting other players from her nation.

Kostyuk questioned 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.”

Victoria Azarenka to take part in US Open

Azarenka will be allowed to take part in the US Open, unlike at Wimbledon where players from Russia and Belarus were banned.

Wimbledon made the extraordinary decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus due to their nations’ involvement in the invasion of Ukraine.

Both the ATP and WTA removed the points after the All England Club issued bans over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Therefore, it meant the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Aryna Sabalenka and Azarenka didn’t play in London.

However, the US Open made the call to allow athletes from those nations to participate in the final grand slam of the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rafael Nadal experiences earliest loss in six years

Butterflies predict who wins US Open, as they did with Djokovic and Osaka in 2021