After being accused of undermining her colleagues in private WhatsApp texts, Victoria Azarenka has emerged as the voice of reason.
After being accused of undermining her colleagues in private WhatsApp texts, Victoria Azarenka has emerged as the voice of reason.

Tennis star’s plea after dirty accusation

Tennis star Victoria Azarenka has issued an impassioned plea for fellow players and the public to show some understanding of a delicate situation as quarantine complaints and coronavirus fears dominate the lead-in to next month's Australian Open.

Seventy-two players are in hard quarantine for two weeks, unable to leave their hotel rooms after positive COVID-19 cases were detected on several flights ferrying competitors into Melbourne for the first grand slam of the year.

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Two weeks in lockdown hasn't gone down well with many players, who have raged against the strict conditions, one even comparing to it to life inside prison.

Unsurprisingly, they haven't found much sympathy from a Victorian public which has come out the other side after being forced to endure some of the harshest lockdown restrictions in the world last year.

Additionally, health authorities aren't prepared to give the athletes any special treatment - even after men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic suggested ways in which the rules could be relaxed.

Azarenka, a 31-year-old veteran of the WTA tour, has emerged as the voice of reason, taking to social media to put the situation in perspective.

The two-time Australian Open champion understands the players' frustrations and acknowledged their concerns, but at the same time made it clear they can't play the blame game in these uncertain times. She urged her comrades to "accept, adapt and keep moving" and show some empathy towards Victorians and other Australians who have done, for the most part, a good job of limiting the spread of the virus.

 

 

"This has been a very difficult time for a lot of us that did not expect to end up in the situation we are in today, myself included," Azarenka wrote.

"To be in a 14-day hard quarantine is very tough to accept in terms of all the work that everyone has been putting in during their off-season - to be prepared for playing our first Grand Slam of the year.

"I understand all the frustration and feeling of unfairness that has been coming and it is overwhelming.

"We have a global pandemic, nobody has a clear playbook of how to operate at full capacity and without a glitch, we all have seen it last year. Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving.

"I would like to ask all my colleagues for co-operation, understanding and empathy for a local community that has been going through a lot of very demanding restrictions that they did not choose, but were forced to follow.

"I would like to ask to be sensitive as well to the people who have lost their jobs and loved ones during this horrible time for all of us around the world.

"I would like to ask all of us to have respect for people who work tirelessly to try to make our lives easier."

In the face of a wave of criticism towards tennis stars coming across as entitled, Azarenka also asked for empathy from the wider community.

"I would like for the people in the community to know and understand that we have it as our top priority to ensure the health and safety of all the people," she wrote.

"I would like for us to please try to support each other as much as someone can or is willing to.

"Things are always easier when you have a compassionate environment and work together."

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AZARENKA ACCUSED OF SABOTAGING PLAYERS' DEMANDS

Azarenka's message comes after Russian star Veronika Kudermetova's coach, Sergei Demekhine, hinted at division within the playing ranks when he revealed Azarenka was trying to ease tensions in private messages between players.

Demekhine is against the 14-day quarantine, and accused Azarenka of undermining the efforts of players seeking improved conditions.

"Vika Azarenka, who is also in hard quarantine, decided to represent all quarantined players but (went against them)," Demekhine said.

"She says we should be grateful for what we have and suppresses dissenting voices. We have a WhatsApp chat and she tries to silence everyone who disagrees."

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley also suggested there was a split between players, saying those going about their quarantine without a fuss are upset at some stars for kicking up a stink and sullying the sport's reputation.

"The majority of the players have been absolutely fantastic and this is a playing group that's a little bit upset with what some of the playing group have said, it holds them in a bad light in the community," Tiley said.

"This is the first time that these players have experienced anything like this and this is the price that our guests and anyone coming into Australia needs to pay.

"They're now in a position that their understanding is better, but the comments of a few does not represent the comments and views of everyone.

"I really think it's time we move on, they've got over the shock of the first four days of quarantine and we all get ready for what's going to be a magnificent start to the summer."

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Tennis star's plea after dirty accusation


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