'We miss you': Tennis player's message to parents after fleeing Ukraine

Dayana Yastremska and her sister were sent by their parents to flee war-torn Ukraine to the safety of France. Pic: Instagram
Dayana Yastremska and her sister were sent by their parents to flee war-torn Ukraine to the safety of France. Pic: Instagram

Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska says she is safe in France after a selfless act from her parents to get the tennis star and her sister out of the war-torn country.

The 21-year-old lives in Odessa with her parents and sister but decided to evacuate after the war with Russia began.

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The port city in Ukraine has been targeted by Russia, with several ships hit by missiles as bloodshed in other parts of the country continue to escalate.

The horrific situation saw Yastremska’s parents make the heartbreaking decision to send her and her sister to France, while they remain in Ukraine.

The former world No 21 revealed her intention to leave Ukraine on Friday when she posted a picture of her and her sister sitting on suitcases.

Yastremska said she and her family had spent two nights sheltering underground in Odessa, before revealing the selfless act her parents made to ensure the safety of their children.

“After spending two nights in the underground parking, my parents made a decision at any cost to send me and my little sister out of Ukraine.

“Mom, Dad, we love you very much, take care of yourself!!! I love you my country! Ukrainians take care of your lives!”

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Even though Russian troops started to try and take control of her country just a few days ago, the three-time WTA title winner is still due to play Ana Bogdan from Romania in Lyon this week.

Russia and Vladimir Putin's government faces heavy political and financial sanctions, while sports organisations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UEFA have also condemned the attack.

St Petersburg has been stripped of this season's Champions League final, while Poland, Sweden and the Czech Republic have refused to play Russia in qualifiers for the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Formula One has pulled the Russian Grand Prix from its race calendar for 2022.

Several tennis players have spoken out against Russia's aggression, including Russian duo Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev, who will ascend to world number one in the ATP rankings on Monday.

Yastremska's Ukrainian compatriot Elina Svitolina – the former WTA World No.3 – told Sky Sports News she was "shocked at this terrible nightmare".

Svitolina has family and friends back in Ukraine and has pledged to donate her prize money from tennis to help her country in the war against Russia.

Seen here, Ukraine's Elina Svitolina speaks to media in Dubai in February, 2022.
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina will donate her prize money to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Pic: Getty

"I commit to redistribute the prize money of my next tournaments to support army and humanitarian needs and help them to defend you, our country.

"Ukraine, you unify us, you are our identity. You are our past and our future. We are Ukraine."

At the Dubai ATP event, Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev marked his semi-final win over Hubert Hurkacz by signing the camera lens on court with the message, "No war please", clearly stating his feelings about his nation's invasion of Ukraine.

Poland's Iga Swiatek swept aside Anett Kontaveit in the Qatar Open final and dedicated her victory to "the people who are suffering in Ukraine".

"I want to show my support to all the people who are suffering in Ukraine," the 20-year-old former French Open champion said. "Seeing those images is really emotional for me. I wouldn't even imagine stuff happening like that in the country next to me."

Sporting world unites to condemns Russia

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sparked widespread reaction in the sports world, with athletes condemning Moscow's actions while calls increase for the country to be isolated from international competition.

In motorsport, the Russian Grand Prix which was scheduled for September 25 has also been scrapped after several stars publicly declared their opposition to driving in the race.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said: "When a country is at war, it's not right to run there." Vettel added: "For myself, my own opinion is I should not go, I will not go. I think it's wrong to race in the country."

American Formula One team Haas decided not to sport the Russian colours of its title sponsor Uralkali during the last day of pre-season testing in Barcelona on Friday. Haas, whose cars usually sport the blue, white and red colours of the Russian flag, ran in a plain white livery.

Meantime, boxing's four major sanctioning bodies - the International Boxing federation, World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation - said in a joint statement they will not sanction bouts in Russia.

"Just as the world claims for cease of fire, our organisations have decided to not sanction any boxing championships in Russia. Just as this war has put a stop of boxing in Ukraine, our organisations will not sanction fights in Russia until further assessment of the situation," their statement said.

The International Olympic Committee, angry at the Russian invasion of Ukraine breaching the 'Olympic Truce', urged all international sports federations to cancel their forthcoming events in Russia.

with agencies

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