Tsurenko: In 2022, I played in several tournaments where Russian flags were flying in the stands. I am convinced that something similar will happen in Paris

Tsurenko: In 2022, I played in several tournaments where Russian flags were flying in the stands.  I am convinced that something similar will happen in Paris

The third racket of Ukraine shared concerns related to the consequences of admitting Russian tennis players to the 2024 Olympic Games, and once again criticized the position of the WTA

Ukrainian tennis player Lesya Tsurenko spoke about her struggle with WTA against Russian symbols in the stands, and also shared her opinion on the consequences of allowing athletes from the Russian Federation and Belarus to Olympic Games 2024.

“In 2022, I played in several tournaments where Russian flags were flying in the stands, and it made me furious. I remember that instead of focusing on the games, I was running to the organizers so that they could do something about it.”

“I am convinced that something like this will happen [в Париже]. In fact, it may become the main theme of these Games, overshadowing the sport of wrestling. Don’t get me wrong – for Ukrainian athletes, emblems associated with Russia are a flashpoint that makes everything else around them unimportant.”

“I know this position of the IOC and it hurts me the most. This is complete nonsense.”

“Withdrawal from the match against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka? It was a difficult situation, but it was more likely the result of an unpleasant conversation with the management of the WTA tour. I heard that war propaganda is just nonsense. That no one will be excluded from the Tour despite their political views. These words shocked me terribly. I heard them literally a few minutes before the match with Sabalenka and after that I could not go onto the court. Moreover, after this incident I began to have health problems.”

“Besides all this, there was something else that really bothered me. I understood that after each such match, the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, could mention me as an example of the fact that Ukrainians do not have problems competing against Russians at major tournaments. This thought haunted me throughout the season, and I was sure that something similar could happen. I did not want – against my will – to become part of this struggle. I only avoided it because I gave up the game. After all, it was Katerina Beindl who was officially mentioned as a positive example. Bach used her name and stated that she was not against such competition.”

Tsurenko is the third racket of Ukraine after Elina Svitolina and Angelina Kalinina. Lesya ends this year in 31st position in the WTA world rankings.

Back in March 2023, Tsurenko criticized the decision of the International Olympic Committee to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in international competitions. According to her, “the ATP and WTA practically protect Russians and Belarusians.” Lesya uttered these words shortly after she refused to take the court against the Belarusian Sabalenka at the Indian Wells tournament.

In October, she said that regarding Russian symbols at official competitions under the auspices of the WTA, “they don’t want to hear from Ukraine.”

In February 2023, IOC head Thomas Bach cited the Australian Open 2023, where Ukrainian Katerina Beindl played against Russian Kamilla Rakhimova, as an example of the possibility of participation of Russians and Belarusians. During this match, fans in the stands displayed the Russian flag.

In early December, the Executive Committee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to admit participants from Russia and Belarus in the status of “individual neutral athletes” to the 2024 Olympic Games.

In the early hours of February 24, Russia launched rocket and air strikes on most Ukrainian cities and then launched a full-scale military invasion. The Russian war against Ukraine has continued for the 669th day.

Source: Sportarena

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