While acknowledging her appreciation for Wimbledon‘s stand against Russia, Elina Svitolina said she wished the WTA and ITF had done more to back Ukrainian players. The WTA, ATP, and ITF all issued statements in early March saying they did not back Russia’s actions in Ukraine but still allowed Russian players to compete in international events.
Since then, Russian players have competed as neutrals, rather than representing Russia. This has not gone over well with their Ukrainian counterparts. Svitolina told The Telegraph that the Ukrainian tennis community had held roundtables with the WTA, the International Tennis Federation, and the Grand Slams to explain the assistance their country required, but that the organizations had ultimately decided to go their separate ways.
It made me sad to learn that they had taken that position. But I have a great deal of respect for Wimbledon, and I appreciate how the tournament has made the players and Ukraine feel so welcome.
Almost no Russians made contact, Svitolina said.
Ukrainian athletes at first kept quiet when Russia invaded their country.
The conflict began when they arrived in Indian Wells without much help from their Russian coworkers. “Most professional tennis players now reside and train outside of Russia, primarily in Europe and the United States.
That’s their call, after all. No one on the team bothered to ask after our families or even if they were doing okay. Svitolina said, “It made things tense.” Svitolina announced her retirement from tennis after the Miami Open. Svitolina revealed she and husband Gael Monfils were expecting in May.
Svitolina’s priorities have shifted from a carefree pregnancy to finding ways to aid Ukraine in this, their hour of need. People in Ukraine are dying, we’ve lost our homes and our training grounds, and our families are in danger here.”
Considering the widespread media coverage sports receive, it’s clear that they bear a weighty obligation to educate the public on important issues. Svitolina declared, “Right now, this is my mission.”