Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina refuses to play against Russian opponent unless in tennis tours

Top seed Elina Svitolina, a 27-year-old tennis pro from Ukraine, said she would not play her round of 32 match against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova at the Monterrey Open unless the tennis federations follow the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee .

Svitolina wrote on Twitter that she does not want to play her opening round match against Anastasia Potapova “or any other match against Russian or Belarusian tennis players until ‘the WTA women’s tour, the ATP men’s tour and the International Tennis Federation’ follow the recommendations of the IOC ‘ and prohibit those countries’ competitors from using national symbols, colours, flags or anthems.

The Russian military attack on Ukraine took place on the fifth day.

“I don’t blame any of the Russian athletes,” wrote Svitolina. “You are not responsible for the invasion of our motherland.”

Svitolina is a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist with 16 career singles titles at the tour level, ranked down to No. 3 and currently ranked No. 15.

Another tennis player from Ukraine, 32-year-old Lesia Tsurenko, wrote on Twitter that she and others “wish to express our great surprise and dissatisfaction at the lack of response to the situation in our motherland.”

Tsurenko, a quarterfinalist at the 2018 US Open who has been seeded down to 23rd and is ranked 127th this week, called on the WTA to immediately condemn the Russian government.

The ITF said it had canceled its events on Russian soil “indefinitely” and that no events were planned in Belarus this year. It also postponed an event planned for April in Ukraine, citing “heightened security concerns”.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation. We are constantly monitoring events and remain in active discussions with the ITF tennis family, the ITF Executive Board and security experts to decide and coordinate our next course of action. We stand united with the people of Ukraine,” the ITF said in a statement released on Monday.

“Right now, our priority remains the safety of everyone attending our events. We will of course provide further information as soon as possible.”

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