Russian tennis player Vera Zvonareva has been banned from entering Poland to participate in the upcoming Warsaw Open 2023 due to national security issues by the Polish Border Guard. Poland has emerged as a strong ally of Ukraine in the ongoing Russian invasion and announced the player’s ban on Friday. Poland’s interior ministry stated concerns around the state and public security as justification.
The Russian player was participating at the BNP Paribas Warsaw Open, beginning on Monday, but the ministry denied her entry to Poland. Zvonareva was attempting to enter using a French visa as Poland is a Schengen country, which usually means that visas for other Schengen countries validate entry. With this being a special case, the Polish interior ministry decided to mak e a political statement at Zvonareva’s expense.
WTA to evaluate the issue further
The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) said, “The safety and well-being of all players is a top priority of the WTA. Vera has departed Poland and we will be evaluating the issue further with the event.” Whereas, the Polish ministry said, “The Border Guard prevented a Russian tennis player from entering Poland. Vera Zvonareva, using a visa issued by France, tried to get into our country on a flight from Belgrade to Warsaw.”
The four-time Grand Slam winner is considered undesirable in Poland. As the invasion of Ukraine persists, Poland has found itself caught in the geopolitical game. In November of 2022, a Russian cruise missile landed in Poland, resulting in two deaths. More recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sending aggressive signals to Poland by saying Poland’s decision to reinforce the country’s eastern border with troops as a response to the increased Russian paramilitary presence in the region will be considered an act of aggression against Russia.
As a result, the Polish government has decided to push back harder against the country, and the political statement of banning a Russian from entering their country to play in a sporting event was an inevitable, if unfortunate, decision for Vera Zvoraneva.