Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko's act in Rome shows appreciation she has for Iga Swiatek

Tsurenko certainly appreciates very much Swiatek's support for Ukraine.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko's act in Rome shows appreciation she has for Iga Swiatek

Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko touched the Ukrainian flag on her shirt as she shook hands with Iga Swiatek at the net following their Rome meeting. Poland's Swiatek has been very outspoken in her support for Ukraine ever since Russia invaded the country in 2022 February.

Last year, Swiatek organized a charity event in Poland, with all the proceeds going to the Ukraine relief fund. In recent months, Ukrainian players haven't been shaking hands with Russian/Belarusian players because they feel most of them support their respective governments.

After suffering a 6-2 6-0 loss to Swiatek in the Rome third round, Tsurenko wanted to show everyone how she as a Ukrainian feels about Swiatek.

Tsurenko's act shows the respect she has for Swiatek

In an interview for the BBC in April, Swiatek suggested tennis could have sent a strong message by banning Russian and Belarusian players when the invasion first started.

"I heard that after World War Two, German players were not allowed as well as Japanese and Italian, and I feel like this kind of thing would show the Russian government that maybe it's not worth it. I know it's a small thing because we are just athletes, a little piece in the world but I feel like sport is pretty important and sport has always been used in propaganda.

This is something that was considered at the beginning, tennis didn't really go that way, but now it would be pretty unfair for Russian and Belarusian players to do that because this decision was supposed to be made a year ago," Swiatek told the BBC in April.

Also, Swiatek felt tennis as a sport could have done more to show that it is against wars and violence. "I feel like tennis, from the beginning, could do a bit better in showing everybody that tennis players are against the war.

I feel they could do more to make that point and tell their views, and help us cope a bit better in the locker room because the atmosphere there is pretty tense," Swiatek said.

Lesia Tsurenko Iga Swiatek