Ukrainian Svitolina hoped the US Open would act more firmly against the Russians | Tennis News



MUMBAI: Ukraine Elina Svitolina disagrees with the US Open’s decision to allow players from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutrals and hopes the Grand Slam the organizers would take a tougher stance after Moscow invaded his country.
Russian and Belarusian players are banned from competing at Wimbledon, which begins June 27, but the United States Tennis The association allowed them to play under a neutral flag at the New York hard-court major.
“It’s their decision to make, they decided to go this route. I don’t support it because I feel like they should have taken more serious action,” the former world number three told Reuters from Geneva.
“Our (Ukrainian) sport is pushed back for at least 10 years because all the infrastructure has been damaged or completely destroyed. I can tell you very many factors that can play a role in the decision not to let Russian and Belarusian players compete .”
Russian and Belarusian players, who also competed in the French Open, are banned from the team events but are allowed to compete as neutrals on the men’s and women’s circuits.
Svitolina, 27, pledged to donate her tournament money to the Ukrainian military before retiring from touring after losing in the second round of the Miami Masters in March.
Last week, she joined former Ukraine, Chelsea and AC Milan footballer Andriy Shevchenko as an ambassador for ‘UNITED24’, a charity platform launched by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to collect donations .
Born in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, Svitolina expected more support from tennis’ governing bodies and was totally against the policy of allowing players from Russia and Belarus to compete as neutrals.
The silence of her Russian and Belarusian teammates was also surprising.
“For us, it wasn’t really understandable that they weren’t supporting us. I feel like it created tension between us,” Svitolina said in the video interview.
Svitolina thanked the world number one Iga Swiatek for her victory speech at Roland-Garros when the Pole urged Ukraine to “stay strong” and reminded everyone that the war was still on.
On February 24, Russia launched the invasion, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”
A few days earlier, Svitolina, who is married to French tennis player Gael Monfils, discovered that the couple were expecting a baby in October.
“I was extremely excited by the news. And then, a few days later, the war started,” she said. “It was a lot of stress, we were really worried.
“In fact, I was more worried about the war than myself. I don’t even remember what happened the first few days. It was unbearable.”
The war changed her as a person.
“The priorities have changed, the outlook on life has changed,” Svitolina said. “It’s not that I didn’t enjoy family time with my parents before, but now I really enjoy spending time with them.
“They had the chance to leave Ukraine and they are in Europe at the moment. A lot of things have changed inside, mentally. A war really changes people.”
The pregnancy will force her to take a break from traveling and fundraising events, but Svitolina plans to return to work by the end of the year and she also wants to get back on the tennis court.
“Right now I feel like the last time I held the racket was 20 years ago,” said Svitolina, who won Olympic bronze in the singles event in Tokyo l last year.
“I really want to participate in the Olympic Games (2024) in Paris. That’s my goal. But it’s not the first thing on my mind right now.”


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