Lesya TSURENKO: “Bach’s words are manipulation”
33-year-old Ukrainian tennis player Lesya Tsurenko reacted to the decision of the IOC to recommend that international sports federations return athletes from Russia and Belarus to big-time sports.
“I would like to clarify what the situation is in tennis. Because Herr Bach constantly mentions tennis in every speech. As Marta Kostyuk said, we have been fighting for the removal of rf/rb players from competitions since the beginning of the war.
Everything Mr. Bach says is outright manipulation. He does not want to talk about the fact that there is a representative of tennis in the IOC, the president of the RTF [Шамиль Тарпищев]. He also gives an example of a match at the Australian Open, where the representative of Ukraine played a match against a Russian tennis player. He does not say that it was an example of unworthy sports behavior, when there were flags at the stadium, the image of Putin (on clothes) during the match. We clearly saw that the ATP and the WTA practically protect the Russians and Belarusians, and they forgot about the Ukrainians in general, about their rights, about their well-being, about the conditions in which they have to perform.
On the example of Wimbledon, we saw that rating points were taken away from tennis tours. This affected many players who lost positions, dropped from 17 to 150. It’s not just about the Ukrainians. It’s about discrimination against players from many countries. We have an example of a tournament in Estonia, where they held competitions without Russians and Belarusians. It was a great opportunity for the Ukrainians to play in the tournament and feel emotionally better there. There will be no more of this tournament this season because there was a lot of pressure from the WTA. On the other hand, we see that Novak Djokovic is not currently playing tournaments in the USA. [из-за требований по вакцинации]but no one touches the rating points.
We are in a situation where we are surrounded by players who are potentially supporting the war. But nobody wants to talk about it. Tennis players are trapped because our governing bodies tell us to play no matter what. There is an example when one of the Ukrainian tennis players wanted to enter the court with some kind of banner, but she was forbidden to do so. Her opponent from Russia withdrew from this match the next day. Therefore, everything possible is being done to prevent any actions of Ukrainian players,” Tsurenko said.
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