Iga Swiatek showed empathy for Lesia Tsurenko as the Pole acknowledged that there should be more conversations centered around helping Ukrainian players. On Monday, Tsurenko made a stunning claim as she said that the conversation with WTA CEO Steve Simon gave her a panic attack.
According to Tsurenko, Simon told her that if there were Russian and Belarusian players supporting their government, she should not be upset because it's just their opinion. Tsurenko was scheduled to play Belarusia's Aryna Sabalenka in the Indian Wells third round but withdrew after suffering a panic attack.
Swiatek on the Tsurenko news
“I totally understand why she withdrew, because honestly I respect Ukrainian girls so much. If a bomb landed in my country or if my home was destroyed, I don’t know if I could handle that and compete.
You have to really mentally be there to compete every week. So I get that she wasn’t ready to do that. I feel more should be done to help Ukrainian players because everything we discuss in tennis is about Belarusian and Russian players, if they should be allowed, what’s going on with them.
I don’t think that’s right, because we should focus more on helping Ukrainian players and providing them everything they need because they basically have to take care of all their families, and there’s a lot of baggage on their shoulders," Swiatek said.
The relationship between Ukrainian and Russian/Belarusian players hasn't been great over the last year as Ukrainian players believe that there is a good number of Russian and Belarusian players supporting their governments.
“At the beginning we didn’t have proper leadership to guide us through all of that. There’s a lot of tension in the locker room that obviously is going to be there because there’s a war. But maybe it should be a little bit less if WTA put some action at the beginning to explain to everybody what’s right and what’s not," Swiatek said.
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