August 12, 2022

Even before the start of the tournament, much controversy surrounded the Wimbledon Championships this year. The decision to ban all Russian and Belarusian tennis players has garnered the most reactions, both positive and negative. As a result, the ATP and WTA took points away from the event, causing a few players to lose their motivation to compete in this prestigious event.

As the tournament unfolds, another issue has surfaced regarding a young Iranian player, Meshkatolzahra Safi.

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Iranian player Meshkatolzahra Safi misses 2022 Wimbledon Championships with visa issues

According to various reports, Safi, a 17-year-old Iranian, missed a chance to play Wimbledon this year after not getting a visa in time. Before the tournament, she obtained a license to participate in the junior tournament but had to withdraw at the last moment.

According to the director of Safi, the British government and Wimbledon did not cooperate with the visa. “Today is a sad day for sport in general and for Iranian tennis,” his manager wrote on Instagram.

“Meshkat had to pull out of the tournament because the British government did NOT give him a visit visa in time and the tournament organizers did nothing to help him. It is sad to think how the politics affects the lives of so many people, their dreams, their careers and their ambitions,” his manager further wrote.

It is to highlight that Safi became the first Iranian girl to play at the Australian Open juniors earlier this summer.

During the tournament, she revealed that she was a big fan of Rafael Nadal and started playing tennis after watching the Spaniard. After Melbourne, she also took part in the Roland-Garros junior event. She was hoping to play three Grand Slams in a row at Wimbledon, which didn’t happen this year.

Currently, she is ranked No. 76 in the ITF Junior Rankings and became the first Iranian girl to rank in the top 100. Earlier in March, she reached her highest ranking of 69. apart from that, she has a total of 14 -8 winning record in the junior circuit.

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Wimbledon suffers from low attendance

According to recent statistics, the first day of the Wimbledon Championships saw the lowest attendance since 2007, with 36,600 people attending live matches. The following three days also saw low attendance numbers as 114,573 people came to SW19 in total, which was quite lower than 2019 (the last time attendance was 100%).

A ‘The Championships’ logo is seen on center court during previews of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 21, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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Many fans blame Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian players as one of the reasons. Moreover, the absence of legendary Swiss player Roger Federer could be one of the reasons for the low attendance. Despite this low attendance, the organizers are optimistic about the peak attendance in the second week, especially during the semi-finals and finals.