Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina announced on Monday her intention not to play the 2022 Monterrey Open so as not to face players identified with Russian or Belarusian nationality as a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I want to announce that I will not play in Monterrey, or any other match against Russian or Belarusian tennis players until our organizations make this necessary decision,” Svitolina posted on social media, calling on the ATP, WTA and ITF to adopt the recommendations. of the International Olympic Committee.

The Ukrainian could appear at the Monterrey tournament if the organizations that govern professional tennis follow the IOC’s recommendations “to accept Russian or Belarusian citizens only as neutral athletes, without displaying any symbol, color, flag or national anthem.” Svitolina, the tournament’s top seed, is scheduled to make her debut at the Monterrey Open on Tuesday against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova.

Three tennis players of Russian nationality appear in the main draw of the Monterrey Open: Kamilla Rakhimov -eliminated in the first round- and Anna Kalinskaya, in addition to Potapova.


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For now, according to the Mexican newspaper Reforma , the organizing committee of the Monterrey Open “assured that the WTA, spokesperson for the players, confirmed the presence of Svitolina, in addition to the fact that the Russian flag that identifies the nationality has already been removed. of the players”.

In her statement, Svitolina clarified that she does not blame any of the Russian athletes. “They are not responsible for the invasion of our homeland.” She also thanked them for the solidarity shown to Ukraine in the face of the conflict.

“I want to pay tribute to all the players, especially the Russians and Belarusians, who courageously expressed their position against the war. Your support is essential, ”Svitolina stated in her statement.

The Russian Anastasia Potapova, whom Svitolina should have faced on Tuesday in the first round of the tournament in Monterrey (Mexico), has been “sad” and, added in a message published on Tuesday on her Instagram account, “even if I am foreign to politics, I am against suffering, tears and war”.

“Deep down, we professional athletes are unfortunately becoming hostages of the current situation,”she laments.

Support from Pavlyuchenkova

The best Russian tennis player, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, expressed on Twitter her “disagreement” with the war that her country has started in Ukraine, and her helplessness for not being able to oppose beyond her statements.

“I have been playing tennis since I was a little girl. I have always represented Russia. It is my home and my country. However, I am afraid, as are my friends and my family. But I’m not afraid to say what my opinion is. I am against war and violence ”she wrote number 14 in her post on the social network.

The 30-year-old player also expresses her impotence in the face of this situation: “I am not a politician or a public figure, I have no experience in these matters. I can only publicly disagree with these decisions and speak openly.”

Her statements have come before the ATP, the WTA or the ITF, the institutions that control world tennis, have announced possible sanctions against Russian and Belarusian tennis players.

Pavlyuchenkova’s message, rare among Russian athletes, echoes that made by her compatriot Andrey Rublev, number 6 in the world, who advocated “peace in the world” hours before the entry of Russian troops into Ukrainian territory.

Other Russian athletes, such as the cyclist Pavel Sivakov, the footballer Fedor Smolov and especially the ice hockey star Alex Ovechkin, have expressed their opposition to the war launched by their country.

“Personal ambitions or political reasons cannot justify violence” Pavlyuchenkova also wrote, before concluding: “End the violence, end the war”.

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