'Cut contact': Ukrainian tennis star savages Russian rivals
Ukraine tennis star Marta Kostyuk has let rip at her Russian and Belarusian rivals who have not publicly opposed the war back in her home country.
Kostyuk, like many Ukrainians impacted by Russia's invasion of her homeland, has been living a 'roller coaster' life since Vladimir Putin announced the war.
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Russian and Belarusian tennis players have been competing under a neutral flag since the invasion of Ukraine.
More recently, Wimbledon made the controversial decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in this year's grand slam.
Kostyuk has recently been vocal about Wimbledon's move and called for other tournaments to follow in its footsteps unless players denounce the war.
And the 19-year-old rising star has now gone one step further and hit out at some of her Russian and Belarusian peers after she claimed many are 'pretending' to be victims of the situation.
“I cut out all the contacts from all the Russian and Belarusian players I’ve been friends with because of the fact that we were friends and they never considered coming out to me and talking to me; I think that’s a pretty good reason, no matter what their feelings are, I really don’t care,” Kostyuk told Eurosport ahead of her match against Emma Raducanu at the Madrid Open.
“They pretend like nothing is going on, they pretend that they are the victims of this situation, which I honestly cannot get it.
“I don’t know how much time needs to pass before they stop making excuses for themselves to do whatever, to do anything, any decision, any movement.”
Kostyuk went one step further and hit back at the notion Russian players were worried about speaking out due to family back home.
She claimed players, especially in the World Top 50, have had every opportunity to move their families out of Russia for safety reasons.
The 19-year-old detailed how she, and many of her compatriots, were forced to move their family out of war-torn Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion.
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Novak Djokovic and Martina Navratilova were among the many to criticise Wimbledon's move, while the ATP and WTA were both scathing.
"Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings," the men's governing body said.
"Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our board and member councils."
The Women's Tennis Association said it was "very disappointed" with the decision and was now "evaluating its next steps and what actions may be taken regarding these decisions".
"Individual athletes should not be penalised or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries," said the WTA.
"Discrimination, and the decision to focus such discrimination against athletes competing on their own as individuals, is neither fair nor justified."
Djokovic called the move "crazy", while Navratilova said "politics is ruining the sport".
The All England Club said it had to play its part in the efforts to "limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible."
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