Wimbledon has now lifted its ban on Russian and Belarusian players for the 2023 tournament, but WTA star Iga Swiatek is not sure that was the right decision. In 2022, Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian players following the country's invasion of Ukraine. The tournament will allow players from those countries to compete this year, but it will have to be under a neutral flag.
Swiatek, the No. 1 women's player in the world, told BBC Sport that banning players from Belarus and Russia again in 2023 would make a difference since sports can be a tool for propaganda.
"I heard that after World War II, German players were not allowed as well as Japanese and Italian, and I feel like this kind of thing would show the Russian government that maybe it's not worth it," Swiatek said.
"I know it's a small thing because we are just athletes, a little piece in the world but I feel like sport is pretty important and sport has always been used in propaganda.
"This is something that was considered at the beginning, tennis didn't really go that way, but now it would be pretty unfair for Russian and Belarusian players to do that because this decision was supposed to be made a year ago."
Swiatek did note that banning players from those countries is a lot easier said than done. Swiatek cited Daria Kasatkina as a Russian player who has shown courage by denouncing the war.
"It's easy to say that but when you're facing people face to face it's a little bit different," Swiatek told the BBC. "I did shake hands, for example, with Daria Kasatkina -- she openly said that she's against the war at the beginning and it would be her dream for the war to finish.
"I really respect that because I feel it's brave for Russian athletes to say that because their situation is pretty complicated and sometimes it's hard for them to speak out loud about it."
The 2023 Wimbledon Championships will begin on July 3 and run through July 16.