The former two-time Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka from Belarus, has made her return to the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, after missing out on the action at SW19 last year. On July 3, Monday, after her first-round win at The Championships, the 31-year-old tennis star shut down a journalist for addressing her as a Russian.
Notably, in 2022, she couldn’t make an appearance at the prestigious Grand Slam tournament because of the controversial ban imposed by AELTC on Russian and Belarusian players. This had happened due to a long-standing war between Ukraine and Russia in Eastern Europe.
But then in March of 2023, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) had reversed its decision to let Russian and Belarusian players play at Wimbledon this year.
In wake of the aforementioned events, during the 2023 edition of The Championships, a journalist from Telegraph asked Victoria Azarenka, “What does Wimbledon mean to Russia? Is it big over there? Just in terms of the part it plays in culture.” She responded with a stern reminder, “You do know I’m not from Russia, right?” The journalist went on to admit that it was a poor question from him.
Azarenka talks about fan reception at SW19 her first round win in Wimbledon
After defeating Yuan Yue of China in a grueling match with a scoreline of 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, the 19th seed Belarusian player talked about fan reception from fans at SW19. Azarenka said, “Honestly, it was really nice. People are very nice. I feel like there is an online part of it, and there is the aura, and for me personally, I experienced very good treatment. There are of course some incidents sometimes, but I felt like I was very welcomed. I have been very supported everywhere. And I really appreciate that.”