“Disappointing”: Victoria Azarenka Lashes Out at French Open 2021 Organizers Over Unequal Treatment

Published 06/07/2021, 12:15 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka reacts during her first round match against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka crashed out of the French Open 2021 against 31st seed Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The Belarusian scraped a set lead to lose 7-5, 3-6, 2-6 in 2 hours and 11 minutes.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 6, 2021 Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova shakes hands with Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka after winning their fourth round match REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

However, along with the loss, the 31-year-old also took some bitter experience from the premier clay tournament. Admittedly, Azarenka voiced the imparity between men and women in tennis, including court preferences at Roland-Garros.

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Previously, the World No.16 had shared that the French Federation had not been accomodating to players’ needs. She now opened up on ‘disappointing’ organisation.

Victoria Azarenka voices lack of gender equality at French Open 2021

The Belarusian star Azarenka was clearly not happy with the way things go down at Roland-Garros 2021. She revealed that she is upset that apart from the equal prize money, she does not see anything even amongst men and women proceedings.

“What concerns me is when somebody from French Federation is continually trying to say there is equality, and only pointing out to prize money, which is true. Everything else, I wouldn’t even agree for a little with that. And that’s disappointing,” Azarenka said.

In explanation, Azarenka gave the example of the 2019 Roland-Garros when two women semi-finals took place outside the centre-court. She also talked about remarks against women players in the past.

She said, “I think there are enough examples over the years where we’ve heard remarks towards women, where we’ve seen two women’s semi-final matches playing on the outside courts.

Furthermore, Azarenka stressed that it is common knowledge in the tennis community, and she cannot reveal any surprises here. However, she felt that it is imperative to call out on issues besides prize money.

“I think sometimes you need to hold some people accountable for some of those things and not continuously point out to the obvious of prize money,” Azarenka concluded.

In response, the tournament director Guy Forget “accepted the criticism” but stated that the decision gave “more value to those buying the tickets.”

Watch this story: Toughest Moments of ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal at French Open

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Azarenka’s tough luck at Roland-Garros continues

Notably, the Belarusian has not reached the quarterfinal in Paris since 2013. Moreover, scraping a set lead will hurt her even more.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 6, 2021 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in action during her fourth round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

But, Wimbledon Championships 2021 is near, and she will hope to get better results there. Hopefully, things will turn out right for Azarenka as she steps on the grass soon.

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Purav Joshi

1139 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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