Tennis fans left gutted after 'sad' Victoria Azarenka announcement

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Victoria Azarenka, pictured here in action at the Adelaide International in January.
Victoria Azarenka in action at the Adelaide International in January. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Victoria Azarenka has announced her withdrawal from the Canadian Open in Toronto, revealing she was denied a visa to enter the country.

The former World No.1 and two-time grand slam champion revealed the news on Twitter, saying she was saddened by the development.

'MY GOD': Tennis fans erupt over Serena Williams act after 430 days

'SHAMBLES': Uproar over nasty reality of Nick Kyrgios' title win

"I have had to withdraw due to my visa not being approved," the 33-year-old Belarusian wrote.

"It's truly disappointing. It's very sad to miss one of my favourite tournaments.

"I love to play in Canada with great fans and a place where I made many friends over the years."

The exact reason for Azarenka's visa denial wasn't immediately clear.

She was among a number of Russian and Belarusian players banned from playing at Wimbledon this year after officials took a stand against Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The ATP and WTA opposed the move and stripped the grass-court grand slam of rankings points as a result.

Players from the two countries are allowed to compete at other tournaments, but not under the name or flag of their countries.

Tennis Canada told AFP that Azarenka's visa situation was over a processing issue and had nothing to do with her nationality.

Victoria Azarenka, pictured here in action at the Citi Open in Washington.
Victoria Azarenka in action at the Citi Open in Washington. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

"Tennis Canada confirms that Victoria Azarenka has been unable to secure a visa in time to compete," a statement from the governing body said.

"Tennis Canada has been working hard on the application with Vika and her team for several weeks and have done everything we can to help with this active application, but unfortunately the processing turnaround time has proved too challenging.

"We wish Vika all the best for the US hard-court season and hope to see her back in Canada next year."

Azarenka said she hoped to return to action in Cincinnati from August 13 in the last tuneup event before the US Open begins in New York on August 29.

Fans were left gutted for the two-time Australian Open champion.

Serena Williams and Simona Halep win in Toronto

On Monday, three-time Canadian Open champion Serena Williams moved into the second round with a 6-3 6-4 win over Spain's Nuria Parrizas Diaz - her first singles win on the WTA tour in 430 days.

Playing in just her second singles match since returning to action in June after a year-long absence from competition, Williams was forced to dig deep during a nearly two-hour match played in hot and humid conditions.

Romanian 15th seed Simona Halep, who retired from her second-round match last week in Washington due to illness, needed just 61 minutes to win 6-0 6-2 over Croatia's Donna Vekic.

Halep breezed through the first set in 21 minutes and never looked back as Vekic grew more frustrated as the match wore on.

"It's not about the result it's more about how I played," Halep, who did not face a break point, said during her on-court interview.

"I've been very aggressive and I played fast so that's my goal and I am trying to do that every day."

And Elena Rybakina, who followed her Wimbledon triumph with a first-round exit at San Jose last week, beat Czech Marie Bouzkova 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 to secure her first win as a grand slam champion.

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.