Daria Kasatkina 'understood' why Lesia Tsurenko refused to shake her hand

Russian tennis star Kasatkina defeated Ukraine's Tsurenko in Madrid.

by Dzevad Mesic
Daria Kasatkina 'understood' why Lesia Tsurenko refused to shake her hand

Russian tennis star Daria Kasatkina suggested that she understood Lesia Tsurenko's decision not to shake hands with her. On Saturday, Kasatkina defeated Ukraine's Tsurenko 6-4 6-2 in the Madrid third round. Tsurenko didn't shake hands with Kasatkina at the net but did wave at the Russian.

"What's more sad it that we are still in war and the Ukranians have reasons not to shake hands with us. We waved at each other and I was happy about that," Kasatkina said, per Jose Morgado.

Kasatkina openly criticized Russia's actions in Ukraine

Last summer, Kasatkina - who is the top-ranked Russian female tennis player - openly criticized Russia's actions in Ukraine.

During a conversation with a Russian blogger last year, Kasatkina was asked what she wanted most in life. "For the war to end, (it's a) full-blown nightmare," Kasatkina said. During the same conversation, 25-year-old Kasatkina publicly revealed that she was gay.

Kasatkina said she "could not live in the closet anymore" and decided to go public with her orientation. "Living in the closet is impossible. Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters. So many subjects are taboo in Russia.

Some of them more important than ours, it's no surprise. This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming [gay] is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight. If there is a choice, nobody would choose being gay, why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What's the point?" Kasatkina said.

Russia is not really a country that is very open to the LGBTQ community. Also, Kasatkina criticizing the Russian government wasn't helping the 25-year-old either. When asked if she was afraid she may not be able to return home, Kasatkina admitted: "Yes, I have thought about that." In her next Madrid match, Kasatkina plays against fellow Russian Veronika Kudermetova. If Kasatkina beats Kudermetova, she will reach her first Madrid quarterfinal.

Daria Kasatkina Lesia Tsurenko