WTA

WTA investigates after Russia’s Vera Zvonareva barred from entering Poland

By Sports Desk July 22, 2023

The WTA said it would be “evaluating the issue further with the event” after Russian player Vera Zvonareva was blocked from entering Poland for a tournament.

Zvonareva, a former Wimbledon and US Open finalist, had been due to play in next week’s Warsaw Open in singles and doubles but a statement from Poland’s Ministry of the Interior and Administration said she was on a list of “undesirable” visitors.

The statement on gov.pl read: “Yesterday, July 21, the Border Guard prevented a Russian tennis player from entering Poland.

“Vera Zvonareva, using a visa issued by France, tried to get to our country on a flight from Belgrade to Warsaw. After arriving from Serbia, the tennis player stayed in the transit zone of Chopin Airport in Warsaw and today after 12.00pm flew to Podgorica.

“The Russian woman on the list of persons whose stay is undesirable in the territory of the Republic of Poland was not admitted by the Border Guard for reasons of state security and protection of public safety.

“Poland consistently opposes the regimes of (Vladimir) Putin and (Alexander) Lukashenko, refusing to allow people who support the actions of Russia and Belarus to enter our country.”

Wimbledon and the Lawn Tennis Association were penalised by the tours for banning Russian and Belarusian players last summer following the invasion of Ukraine, a position they reversed this year.

The governing body said in a statement: “The WTA is aware of the situation involving Vera Zvonareva in Warsaw.

“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.”

Poland has been one of the staunchest allies of Ukraine, while world number one Iga Swiatek, who will be the top seed at the tournament, has publicly sided with players from the stricken country amid locker room tensions.

The country’s Minister of Sport, Kamil Bortniczuk, earlier this week said he would boycott matches featuring Russian or Belarusian players.

Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich does appear to have made it into the country based on her social media posts.

Meanwhile, another Russian player, Anastasia Potapova, said on Instagram that she would be unable to play in the Hamburg European Open because a visa was not granted on time.

“Very sad to announce that I’m not going to participate in Hamburg this year, due to difficulties with visa,” she said. “Me and my team applied for it on time, but unfortunately it was delayed.”

Potapova was warned by the WTA earlier this year after wearing a Spartak Moscow football shirt on court.

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