Ukrainian and American WTA players are in good spirits ahead of the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifiers April 15-16 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center, in Asheville, North Carolina. Talking to the media during the draw ceremony event on Thursday, the Ukrainian team expressed how welcome they feel and how the atmosphere is exceptionally friendly and relaxed.
The teams had a nice dinner together and American players even prepared presents for their Ukrainian colleagues.
Ukraine’s Lyudmyla Kichenok told the press: “We’re not feeling that we’re playing against them this weekend, we are feeling that we are playing with them this weekend.”
Given the situation in their home country, the Ukrainians are extra motivated to do well at this largest annual international team competition in world sport.
Katarina Zavatska said: “I cannot say it’s like more responsibility, but it’s something bigger than any other tournament, any other event because you play for Ukraine, for your country right now in this very bad situation. To represent Ukraine I think for us, the girls, it will be something just amazing right now.”
Nadiia Kichenok added: “We feel very united right now as a team. We are sharing a grief that’s happening in our country, to our families. That’s what unites us.”
Ukrainian team captain Olga Savchuk invited all the Ukrainians living in Asheville, and there are many of them, to come support their tennis players at the Billie Jean King Cup:
“I think it would mean a lot to have them. I think they know that. Every support right now, it means big for us and we need it. I’m sure and I’m hoping that we’ll see all of them.”
The Qualifier is a best-of-five match series that begins Friday with two singles matches. Two reverse singles matches and the doubles match will follow on Saturday, with an amended Saturday schedule possible if one team clinches victory in the third or fourth match. The winner will advance to the 2022 Finals later this year at a location to be announced.
Friday, April 15 (beginning at 1 p.m. ET); Tennis Channel
Alison Riske (USA) vs. Dayana Yastremska (UKR)
Jessica Pegula (USA) vs. Katarina Zavatska (UKR)
Saturday, April 16 (beginning at 1 p.m. ET); Tennis Channel
Jessica Pegula (USA) vs. Dayana Yastremska (UKR)
*Alison Riske (USA) vs. Katarina Zavatska (UKR)
*Desirae Krawczyk/Shelby Rogers (USA) vs. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok (UKR)
Tickets can be purchased at http://usta.com/bjkc or at Ticketmaster.