Two Ukrainian women tennis players aimed a swing at the WTA on Monday when they criticised the organisation for not taking a position on the Russian invasion of their country. Marta Kostyuk, ranked 54th in the world, and Lesia Tsurenko, a former top-25 player now ranked 127, both posted a letter on social media expressing “our great surprise and dissatisfaction with the lack of any response with the situation in our Motherland”.
“It is especially strange that in prior cases of social justice and sexual harassment the response of the WTA was prompt, appropriate and bold,” they wrote.
“We demand that WTA immediately condemn the Russian government, pull all tournaments out of Russia and approach the ITF to do the same.”
They urged the WTA to “follow the guidance of the IOC”, which has called for a sporting ban on Russia.
But Kostyuk and Tsurenko stopped short of calling for a ban on Russian players.
“We fully support our colleagues from Russia and any Russian-speaking tennis player as we understand the unprovoked attacks happened without their knowledge and participation.”
“Stop the War. Stop Russian aggression. Bring Peace to our homes. Be HUMAN,” they concluded.
The WTA did on Monday tweet a video of Ukrainian sisters Dayana and Ivanna Yastremska taking the court for a doubles match in Lyon.
The video showed Dayana with a large Ukrainian flag draped over her shoulders.
“Sending love back home,” said the WTA caption.
The pair lost 6-3, 6-4 to Spaniard Georgina Garcia-Perez and Xenia Knoll of Switzerland.
Dayana tweeted: “It’s hard to be on the court when all thoughts about Ukraine, and family.”
On Sunday, Dayana said she and her family spent two nights sheltering underground in Odessa.
“After spending two nights in the underground parking, my parents made a decision at any cost to send me and my little sister out of Ukraine! Mom, Dad, we love you very much, take care of yourself!!! I love you my country,” the former top-25 player wrote.
Also on Sunday, the Ukrainian tennis federation wrote to the European Tennis Federation and the International Tennis Federation demanding they expel Russia and Belarus.
The highest-ranked Ukrainian woman player, Elina Svitolina, has pledged to donate her prize money from forthcoming tournaments to her country’s military and aid groups “to defend You, our country”.
Svitolina, the world number 15, also sent out a long tweet on Sunday saying: “I am devastated, my eyes won’t stop crying and my heart won’t stop bleeding.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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