Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk slams tennis’ response to Russian invasion | Tennis News
Kostyuk saved two match points in a thrilling 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 victory over Ukrainian-born Belgian Maryna Zanevska in the first round of the WTA Masters. Indian Wells.
But she admitted she had thought about not going to court at all over the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
“Honestly, in the current mental state that I am in, it was very difficult to go on court,” said the 19-year-old. “I didn’t know what to expect from myself, I didn’t know what to expect from my body. When I woke up this morning I thought, ‘I’m not going to do this, I can’t win it,'” Kostyuk said.
“I just tried to find a way. She was playing amazing, amazing tennis. My main goal was to fight and I fought. It was a tough comeback. … Everyone fights the way they fight. My job is to play tennis and that’s the best way for me to help in the current situation.”
Kostyuk and Zanevska – who was born in Odessa but has played for Belgium since 2016 – exchanged a long hug after the match.
“His parents are in Ukraine. They are in a calmer area but everyone is scared,” Kostyuk said. “I told her she played amazing and that everything would be fine. Our parents would be fine.”
But Kostyuk does not agree with the measures taken by world tennis authorities in response to the war.
The ATP and WTA tournaments due to be held in Moscow in October have been suspended and the International Tennis Federation has banned the two countries from the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup team events.
But Russian and Belarusian tennis players can still participate in ATP and WTA tournaments and Grand Slam events, although they cannot compete under either country’s name or flag.
“I don’t agree with the measures that have been taken,” Kostyuk said.
“Look at other sports, look at big sports, what they’ve done, that’s all,” she added, an apparent reference to strict measures in sport, including football, which suspended Russian national teams and clubs in international competitions.
Kostyuk was also unimpressed with the response from individual players – like Russian men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev – who lament the war but do not specifically condemn the invasion.
“You can’t be neutral in this,” she said. “These ‘No War’ statements hurt me because they have no substance,” she said.
“Seeing (Russian) players there really hurts me. And seeing them have the only problem of not being able to transfer the money and all that – that’s what they’re talking about – it’s unacceptable for me.”