Tennis is one of those disciplines that, despite the war in Ukraine, allows Russians and Belarusians to play under a neutral flag. This leads to unpleasant incidents for Ukrainians, which is why tennis player Lesia Tsurenko asked for the intervention of the head of the WTA. What she heard from him shocked her.
After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia supported by Belarus, many sports disciplines decided to exclude athletes from Russia and Belarus from the competition. Tennis is not included. The tennis authorities, both women’s (WTA) and men’s (ATP), allow Russians and Belarusians to play under a neutral flag. This leads to unpleasant incidents.
It started with the Australian Open, where Russian fans waved their flags and chanted slogans offensive to Ukrainians at the matches of Ukrainian tennis players. The most recent incident occurred at Indian Wells. Russian tennis player Anastasia Potapova for the match with Jessica Pegula came out in a Spartak Moscow jersey. The fans naturally took it as a provocation. The WTA leader, Iga Swiatek, intervened in the matter with the head of the WTA, Steve Simon. The conversation with the head of the WTA was also conducted by Lesia Tsurenko. The Ukrainian woman shared what she heard from him.
“I was absolutely shocked by what I heard. He told me that he himself does not support the war, but if the players from Russia and Belarus support it, then it is only their own opinion and other people’s opinion should not upset me. At the same time, he indicated that if he were in my place, he would feel terrible – Tsurenko said in an interview with Ubitennis.net.