Belarusian tennis star forced out of Canada showpiece after visa rejection
Ex-WTA women's world number one Victoria Azarenka will miss out on the National Bank Open in Toronto this week due to her Canadian visa application not being approved, as revealed by the 33-year-old on Twitter.
Belarussian Azarenka has already had to skip Wimbledon this summer due to its ban on her compatriots and Russian athletes as a response to the military operation in Ukraine.
Yet while tennis governing bodies have blocked teams from Belarus and Russia from competing in international events, individuals hailing from the two countries have been allowed to compete as neutrals on the WTA and ATP tours, and will also be cleared for the US Open later this month.
As revealed on Twitter, though, Azarenka has been refused a visa for Canada.
"I wanted to inform you that I unfortunately have to withdraw from the tournament in Toronto due to my visa not being approved," wrote the Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013 on Twitter.
"It's truly disappointing," Azarenka lamented, adding that it was "very sad" she has to miss "one of my favorite tournaments."
"I love to play in Canada with great fans and [in] a place where I made many great friends over the years," she went on, wishing good luck to everyone at the event.
Before signing off, however, Azarenka said "see you in Cincinnati" and therefore confirmed that she will contest the Western & Southern Open in the US later this month.
All being well, the Minsk native will still be able to play at the US Open at Flushing Meadows from August 29 onwards, and look to avenge three final defeats there in 2012, 2013 and, most recently, 2020.