Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina refuses to play against Russian, Belarusian players
Svitolina does not want to play against any Russian or Belarussian tennis players until the the tennis oragnisations act and “follow the recommendations of the IOC”
Ukrainian Tennis star Elina Svitolina on Monday announced her withdrawal from the ongoing Monterrey Open as a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The announcement came from the No.1 seeded player after she was drawn against Russian Anastasia Potapova in the first round.
Taking to social media, the 27-year-old wrote that, not just Potapova, she does not want to play against any Russian or Belarussian tennis players until the the tennis oragnisations act and “follow the recommendations of the IOC” of allowing them to compete in tournaments only as "neutral athletes, without displaying any national symbols, colours, flags or anthems."
She finally concluded the post with a statement directed towards the players of Russia and Belarus.
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“I do not blame any of the Russian athletes,” she wrote. “They are not responsible for the invasion of our motherland. Moreover, I wish to pay tribute to all the players, especially Russians and [sic] Belarusians, who bravely stated their position against the war. Their support is essential.”
Svitolina's social media post came on the day of IOC's announcement and was followed by football organisations - FIFA and UEFA - banning all Russian clubs and the national team from all competitions.
Meanwhile, ITF cancelled all tournaments in Russia and Belarus.
“This is a fast-evolving situation. We are constantly monitoring events and remain in active discussion with the ITF tennis family, the ITF Board and security experts to decide and align around our next course of action. We stand united with the population of Ukraine,” the ITF said in a statement issued Monday.
“Right now, our priority remains the safety of all those participating in our events. We will of course be providing more information as soon as possible.