Ukrainian star Elina Svitolina has called on the world tennis authorities to demand that Russian and Belarusian players give guarantees that they do not support the leadership of their respective countries before being allowed to compete.
Svitolina, 27, issued her demands on Wednesday – the same day that Wimbledon announced that it would be banning Russian and Belarusian stars from this year’s tournament because of the conflict in Ukraine.
“We noticed that some Russian and Belarusian players at some point vaguely mentioned the war, but never clearly stating that Russia and Belarus started it on the territory of Ukraine,” said Svitolina in a message shared on Twitter.
“The very silence of those who choose to remain that way right now is unbearable as it leads to the continuation of murder in our homeland.
“We demand that the WTA, ATP and ITF make sure that players who represent Russia and Belarus answer the following questions:
“1. Do you support Russia’s and Belarus invasion in Ukraine’s territory and as a result of that the war started by those countries?
“2. Do you support Russia’s and Belarus military activities in Ukraine?
“3. Do you support Putin’s and Lukashenko’s regime?
“If applicable, we demand to exclude and ban any Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing in any events,” added the former world number three.
“In times of crisis, silence means agreeing with what is happening. There comes a time when silence is betrayal, and that time is now.”