Sports and politics should not be interconnected, but the reality is that politics shape all aspects of our lives. Professional athletes are way too often affected by happenings in the world that seemingly have nothing to do with them. Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, let’s try to explain what we expect to happen to tennis and athletes coming from the region.
We haven’t even fully overcome the pandemic and a new crisis is already torturing the world…
Dayana Yastremska was in her home town of Odessa when the war started and the southern city has been invaded. The tennis player spent two days in an underground garage, before managing to leave Ukraine together with her sister.
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Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina posted on Instagram:
My heart is bleeding… Another sleepless and terrifying night for Ukrainian people.. PLEASE HELP US TO STOP THE WAR.
Lesia Tsurenko is urging people to support her country:
I would like to ask the entire tennis community to speak out against the war on their social media! I ask everyone to support Ukraine in this difficult time. It’s just unacceptable that people in my country die because of political ambitions of Russian dictator!
General mobilization is in force in Ukraine and the country has banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country. This means that Ukrainian ATP players will have to put their careers on the side for some time.
When it comes to tennis tours, we can expect all tournaments scheduled to take place in the countries affected by war to be replaced by events in other locations. Changes to the calendar are nothing new, as we got especially used to them during the coronavirus pandemic. The WTA has released an updated calendar for the next nine weeks of 2022.
As a result of its military invasion, Russia is facing sanctions from countries around the world. This can be a big problem for Russian tennis players, in terms of their financial proceedings and travel. Players from Belarus are in similar position.
Tell us in the comments how you think this conflict will affect tennis tournaments and players.
I believe tennis tournaments will go on. There have been tournaments held in Russia already (didn’t Kontaveit win that one?), and I believe an ATP tournament is in St. Petersberg in the fall. Perhaps the ATP will try to cancel it if this conflict is not resolved according to the ATP’s view. I know that two male Russian players have voiced their displeasure with the situation by writing “NO More War” on the camera lens at tournament around the world. Medvedev in Acapulco, Mexico and Rublev in Dubai, UAE. I would think that Putin would like his”boys” saying things contrary to their country. If I were them I would not go back to Russia soon.
Jim, if Russia is under sanctions, there is no way international tournaments will be held there. The St. Petersburg WTA tournament did take place earlier this month, but it was before this crisis escalated. The ITF has already canceled all ITF tournaments due to take place in Russia. Moreover, due to security concerns, they have postponed the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event scheduled to take place in Ukraine this April.
There will be no tennis played in Russia or Belarus for a long time. It isn’t hard to imagine a new Cold War with an iron curtain between those two countries and the free world. The real reason Putin invaded was because he was threatened by a real democracy on his doorstep. His rule was threatened.
The Ukrainian players are looking for support from all especially from the Russians and Belarusians. Their family members and friends still in Ukraine are in grave danger from a mad man attacking to save his dictatorship. 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
Hmm, I’m not sure in the Tournaments in Hungary and/or Czech Republic should, or will go ahead. We shall see.