World number one Iga Swiatek has called for more support to be offered to Ukrainian players in the women’s tournament after Lesia Tsurenko said she has pulled out of her match against Belarusian. Aryna Sabalenka in Indian Wells due to a panic attack.
Tsurenko said the attack was the result of a conversation she had with WTA CEO Steve Simon about tennis’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Belarus has been the center for what Moscow calls a “special military operation”.
Poland Swiatekwho wears a Ukrainian flag on his hat during matches, he previously condemned the Russian attack and said that the action taken by the tennis leader was not enough.
“I really understand why she left, because the truth is that I respect Ukrainian girls a lot. If a bomb was dropped in my country or my house was destroyed, I don’t know if I can handle that and compete,” Swiatek said.
“You have to be there mentally to compete every week. Now I know that he is not ready to do that. I feel that it is better to do it to help the Ukrainian players. because everything we discuss in tennis about Belarusian and Russian players, if they should be allowed, what is happening to them.. I don’t think it’s right, because we should focus more on helping Ukrainian players and giving them everything they need because they have to support their families, and they have a lot of bags on their shoulders.”
Swiatek also criticized Anastasia Potapova after she caused outrage by wearing a T-shirt of the Russian soccer team Spartak Moscow before her match with Jessica Pegula.
According to Swiatek, such situations can be easily avoided. “In the beginning we didn’t have proper leadership to guide us through all of that,” Swiatek said.
“There’s a lot of tension in the locker room that will definitely be there because there’s a fight. But maybe it should be a little less if the WTA takes some action at the beginning to explain tell everyone what is right and what is wrong.”
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