After an incredible start to the season, Dayana Yastremska returned to her family in the city of Odessa, where she spent one of the most terrifying nights of her life.
Unfortunately, the conflict following Russia's invasion is still ongoing in Ukraine and several missiles hit Odessa on the night between 8 and 9 February 2024. To protect herself from Russian attacks, Yastremska had to seek refuge in an underground car park.
"The most terrifying night of my life. I heard rockets like never before near me and we're still in the parking lot. People, if you can be called that, can you put an end to this?" the young tennis player said on her social media accounts.
It was a very tough and long day for many of our cities...— Ukrainian Tennis • BTU (@ukrtennis_eng) February 8, 2024
Here is Dayana Yastremska and her family and pets hiding in an underground car park at night during the latest Russia's attack on her hometown Odesa. pic.twitter.com/xXAvXe3khE
It is not the first time that Yastremska has witnessed the horrors of war. The Ukrainian tennis player had previously shared truly surprising content in her Instagram stories, revealing how her sister Ivanna and her dog hid in the bathroom during the missile and drone attacks on Odessa.
The episode occurred in the days in which Russia once again began targeting the city. On social media, the Ukrainian published an audio message recorded by her sister. In this video Ivanna appeared extremely petrified as loud bangs and explosions from missiles and drones could be heard in the background.
After what she went through, Yastremska had launched a strong appeal and a clear message to the WTA and the ITF.
"Check out my stories, or maybe you want live videos, or visit Ukraine? You can change your mind about the Russian flag. Someone is sleeping well now, you know who I'm talking about, and someone is trying to survive. Or all Ukrainian players are awake during tournaments because they follow all the news. Is that right?" she declared.
The ride at the Australian Open
Yastremska was one of the protagonists at the Australian Open, performing truly high level tennis. The 24-year-old tennis player started from the qualifiers and reached the semifinals of a Major for the first time in her career.
The Ukrainian defeated the reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the first round and then dominated the match against Varvara Gracheva. She then eliminated the 27th and 18th seeds, Emma Navarro and Victoria Azarenka, from the tournament. Yastremska then defeated Linda Noskova in the quarterfinals. The Chinese Qinwen Zheng put an end to her dream, in the semifinal of the tournament.