Russian, Belorussian players must speak about war

PARIS – Ukrainian tennis participant Elina Svitolina needs Russian and Belarusian gamers to mention whether or not they oppose the warfare in her country.

“For us, for Ukrainians, it’s very important that they speak out, that they choose which side they take. We want to know, we want to feel safe about that. Because if they don’t say their opinion on this, we don’t know if they support their government, if they support the action of the army,” Svitolina informed The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Because in Russia and Belarus sport is a big propaganda.”

In an interview with the AP, Svitolina additionally addressed psychological well being and feeling crushed via the anguish of warfare.

Mental pressure resulted in the previous third-ranked Ukrainian’s choice to take a ruin from tennis. She stated the tension additionally accentuated ongoing again issues.

“For me it’s been a really rough couple of months mentally to hold everything on my shoulders. That’s why it was a better decision to take my time to really settle down,” she stated. “To be on top of the game you have to be 100% mentally and physically fit. For me it was not the case.”


The Wimbledon event, which begins on June 27, has barred gamers from Russia and Belarus as a result of the warfare. The French Open, beginning on May 22, is letting them compete as impartial gamers. For Svitolina, it is extra about breaking silence.

“I feel like they need to speak up about their position, this is very important. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a Grand Slam or (another) tournament,” she said. “I think every Russian and Belarusian athlete should take their position, so that we know that there is no bad people among us.”

Svitolina used to be requested if any Russian and Belarusian gamers for my part informed her they’re in opposition to the warfare.

“Very few. This is very sad because many athletes from different countries came up to us and showed us their support,” Svitolina said. “That’s why it really hurts us and we don’t understand why exactly they (Russian and Belarusian players) didn’t.”

The warfare is now in its eleventh week. Kyiv has slowed down opposing troops however Russia has pummeled the port of Odesa.


“For the past few days there have been shootings, explosions going on in Odesa, my hometown. Mentally it’s draining,” Svitolina said. “I cannot even imagine what people are going through back in Ukraine, what my family’s going through.”

Although Ukraine is resisting a better-armed Russian army, tens of millions of Ukrainians have fled the war-torn nation.

“The first week was the toughest week of my life,” Svitolina said. “I was so worried about all the people in Ukraine, about my family, what will be next. Every minute there was some new information.”

The 27-year-old Svitolina, who is married to French tennis player Gael Monfils, will miss the French Open, where she reached the quarterfinals three times. She did not say if she will play at Wimbledon, where she reached the semifinals in 2019.

But given what Ukraine’s going through, tennis is not her focus.

“I have lots of things on my plate right now,” she said. “I’ve my basis, I attempt to do up to I will for people who find themselves in want. This is the concern, the root and my circle of relatives.”


Her basis helps Ukrainian youngsters who’ve fled.

“We’re doing our best to raise funds for Ukrainian kids. I want to keep their dream alive, even though they went through horrible times,” Svitolina stated. “Some kids got a chance to escape. Right now we have kids who are placed in the academies in Europe. We pay for their training, for their food, their accommodation.”

Svitolina met with some of them in France.

“I wish I could meet everyone,” she stated. “I can do my very best to present consideration to each unmarried child and provides them this little additional motivation they want nowadays.”

But Svitolina could also be struggling mentally and reveals techniques to not get crushed via the warfare.

“I take my time during the day to just switch off my phone. This really helps me to be calmer,” said Svitolina, who consults a psychologist.

“We’re talking a lot, discovering something each time we talk, finding ways,” Svitolina said. “For (the psychologist) it was also tough for her to see me with so much sadness.”


Svitolina used to be amongst a number of audio system discussing psychological well being in sports activities at a convention in Paris on Wednesday.

“I completely agree that mental health is something that has been overlooked. Lots of trouble athletes are going through, lots of tough moments with injuries, with performance, with pressure from media,” she said. “It’s important to speak about it, to speak about your own story. I feel like this was not (done) enough before.”

Leading figures like tennis participant Naomi Osaka and Formula One government Toto Wolff from the Mercedes staff have spoken overtly about psychological well being.

“This is very good that it becomes more open right now. I think it’s very important for some people to hear it out loud, like Naomi Osaka did,” Svitolina said. “Some other people wish to proportion their tales. I choose to talk with my psychologist, with my circle of relatives. There’s no flawed or proper method. You want to to find the way in which this is comfy for you.”



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