The effects of the war between Ukraine and Russia continue to create tensions in the tennis world as well. Two cases shook the women’s circuit during the WTA 1000 in Indian Wells. The first was Lesia Tsurenko. The Ukrainian player forfeited a few hours after the match against the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka due to a panic attack.
“It was a panic attack, I was struggling to breathe. A few days ago I had a discussion with WTA CEO Steve Simon and I was shocked by what he said to me. Simon explained to me that he would like Russians and Belarusians to be given the opportunity to participate in the Olympics.
He also added that he would feel terrible if he were in my shoes and that he doesn’t support war himself, but if the Russian and Belarusian players support it, that’s just their opinion.”
The second instead involved the Russian Anastasia Potapova.
The 21-year-old from Saratov wore the shirt of the Spartak Moscow football team before facing Jessica Pegula on Indian Wells Central Court. A gesture that led the WTA to formally admonish her and condemn her behavior, considered unacceptable and inappropriate.
Just Tsurenko, in an interview with the French newspaper L’Equipe, harshly attacked her colleague. She said: “Steve Simon believes tennis players can support the invasion of Russia and not be penalized. This hurt me, because I felt abandoned.
What Anastasia Potapova did the other day is proof that understands the horror of war.” Tsurenko then wanted to thank Iga Swiatek for her continued displays of affection towards the Ukrainian people: “she is a true number 1 both as a person and as a tennis player.
I really appreciate all the support she is offering all of us.” Nikita Vlasov, coach of Tsurenko, said against Aryna Sabalenka: “It’s your fault, you support the bloody regime of your dictator. You are completely on his side.
The terrible events are also your fault, Aryna, as are everyone else on the side of the regimes in Belarus and Russia.”
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