Elina Svitolina calls Russian Daria Kasatkina ‘brave’ following upset win at French Open



Tennis player Elina Svitolina called her opponent, Russian Daria Kasatkina, “brave” after Ukraine’s upset win on Sunday.

Svitolina, who had previously said she would not shake hands with her Russian and Belarusian opponents out of respect for the men and women who defended Ukraine, told reporters she “accepted” Kasatkina after the match.

Kasatkina has been outspoken in her criticism of the war, describing it as a “nightmare” last year. The New York Times.

Last month, Russia’s top-ranked female tennis player Kastkina also expressed her sympathy for Ukrainian tennis players who refuse to shake hands after matches.

“Really thankful for the position he’s taken. That’s it [a] “It’s a really brave person to say publicly, which not many players have done,” Svitolina said after advancing to the quarterfinals of the French Open.

“He’s a brave one.”

Instead of shaking hands, Kasatkina gave her opponent a thumbs up at the net after losing the match 6-4 7-6 (7-5). He later said he was disappointed to hear boos from some members of the crowd.

“Leaving Paris with a bittersweet feeling. All this day, after every match I play in Paris, I always appreciate and thank the audience for supporting the players and being there,” Kasatkina. tweeted monday

“But yesterday I was pushed to be respectful of my opponent not shaking hands.

“Me and Elina respected each other after a tough match but leaving the court like that was the bad part of yesterday. Be better, love one another. Don’t spread hate. Try to make this world better.”

Kasatkina, who announced last year that she is gay and has criticized Russia’s attitude toward same-sex relationships, has maintained her stance against the war in Ukraine.

“The saddest thing is that the war is still going on,” the 26-year-old said last month. “So of course, the Ukrainian players have many reasons not to shake our hands. I accept it and that’s how it is. It’s a very sad situation and I understand. ”

Playing in her first major since the 2022 Australian Open and for the first time since becoming a mother, Svitolina said she was just focusing on recovery and preparing for her next match.

“Of course I would love to win here,” Svitolina said. “It would be a dream, but it’s always been like step by step in my career.

“I think the only right way to do it is not to look too far into the future, because otherwise you lose your focus on the little things that bring you to win the match.”

Svitolina will face Aryna Sablenka of Belarus in the next round on Tuesday.

Sabalenka, the world number two, stopped taking part in the post-match press conference at the tournament, saying she did not feel safe at a previous press conference where she was questioned about her country’s involvement in the war. were gone

Sablenka said in March that he had faced “hatred” in the locker room amid strained relations between some players following the invasion of Ukraine – with Belarus being used as a key staging ground for Russia.

“About the state of war, I said it many times, nobody in this world – Russian athletes, Belarusian athletes – supports war. Nobody. How can we support war? Ordinary people will never support it. ,” he said.

Russian and Belarusian players are currently still competing on tour as neutral athletes without displaying their flag or country.

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