Victoria Azarenka breaks rank and fires shots at Iga Swiatek as WTA row continues

Victoria Azarenka has gone against her fellow Belarusians and claimed there are no “tensions” between them and the Ukrainian players in the locker room.

Victoria Azarenka has slammed claims that there are “tensions” in the locker room amid a new discussion over Ukrainian players on tour. The two-time Major champion took aim at Iga Swiatek after the world No 1 weighed into the debate. And Azarenka bucked the trend of her fellow Belarusian players, claiming that everything was fine despite compatriot Aryna Sabalenka’s recent comments suggesting otherwise.

The divide between players from Ukraine and those from Russia and Belarus has heightened in recent weeks. It comes after Ukrainian pro Lesia Tsurenko pulled out of an Indian Wells meeting with Sabalenka, prompting a new debate over the treatment of players from the three nations in the locker room.

It led Swiatek to call for more support for Ukrainian players, claiming there was “a lot of tension in the locker room that obviously is going to be there because there’s a war.” Belarusian world No 2 Sabalenka also claimed there were issues backstage with some being “really aggressive against us.”

But former world No 1 Azarenka has now come out to slam the claims, taking shots at Swiatek as she told the 21-year-old to “teach her” everything that happened. “Personally, I have not seen that tension,” the 33-year-old said.

“It is clear that there are certain players who have different feelings and behaviours. In general, I do not share the same vision as Iga,” she added, before appearing to discuss Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players.

Azarenka continued: “I would encourage Swiatek to take a look at the things that have happened before they make any comments. As a member of the Player Council, I would be very happy to introduce you and teach you everything that has been done previously. And I think it would be a much more appropriate way to have that conversation.”


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