“We are not independent players, we cannot change anything”


Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk spoke at a press conference organized by athletes who oppose the return of Russia and Belarus to international sports:

“We didn’t do it publicly, but for the last year we have been fighting to exclude Russians and Belarusians from our sport. Unfortunately, we are not independent players. We essentially work for the WTA and ATP organizations, and we don’t have much authority to change anything. A few weeks ago, we became more aware of our actions, we saw more support online, we saw that the situation is slightly improving in places.

Thomas Bach mentioned my match as an example that Russians and Ukrainians can play together (the final against Gracheva at the tournament in Austin). Our sport has a rating system. If I do not participate in tournaments where Russians and Belarusians play, I will lose my rating, and my career will almost be over. We talked with our governing organizations about this, that we will not compete in tournaments where Russians and Belarusians play, because such a general recommendation, which was collectively agreed upon by the Ukrainian sports federations. Their answer to this was that they would “freeze” our rating, and as soon as the war was over, then we would be able to return to the competition. It was strange to hear such things. All year long we feel this extreme discrimination from various bodies, ATP, WTA, ITF and the like.

First of all, I think that all the basic rules of fair play are rejected, they are simply not respected. This is what we see in sports, specifically in our form. We have not received much support, but we are trying to continue to fight. We keep playing to keep our careers going and keep fighting.”

Lesya Tsurenko also left a comment at this press conference.

#independent #players #change

2023-03-30 22:23:00

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