It has recently come to light that Russian player and former World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva cannot enter Poland. Vera was set to participate in next week’s BNP Paribas Warsaw Open, a WTA 250 tournament. But she has, unfortunately, landed on Poland’s list of ‘Undesirable Visitors’.
WTA, the women’s governing body, has stated that they are aware of the situation and that they would be, “evaluating the issue further with the event”. They released a full statement on Twitter.
WTA statement on Vera Zvonareva’s entry into Poland
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.
— wta (@WTA) July 22, 2023
According to Poland’s Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Vera is on the list by virtue of being Russian. In the war between Ukraine and Russia, Poland is firmly on the side of the former.
This decision from the Polish government has divided tennis fans. Some fans believe that the Government did the politically correct thing, while others think Politics and Sports should not be mixed.
Here’s a easy fix. Never ever have another tournament in Poland. Absolute shameful what they just did.
— tonio (@ANTONIOEESPARZA) July 22, 2023
Another fan thinks the solution would be to ban Russians from all tournaments, “Here’s an easy fix. Never ever have another Russian in any competition.”
This decision comes amidst growing locker room tensions. Whichever side an individual supports, it is the general public that faces consequences always. This incident highlights just that.
Why Vera Zvonareva is banned from entering Poland?
“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,” read the statement.
Last year Wimbledon banned Russians and Belarussians from participating. The Lawn Tennis Association was later fined for it. The Club rescinded that decision this year.
Anastasia Potapova, another Russian tennis player has also faced visa-related problems. “Very sad to announce that I’m not going to participate in Hamburg this year, due to difficulties with my visa,” she said. “Me and my team applied for it on time, but unfortunately it was delayed.”
Poland’s decision to ban Russian players has come under the scrutiny of the WTA. As unfortunate as the situation is for Vera, this sheds light on the power of politics. Yes, even in sports.