Russian WTA player Vitalia Diatchenko was refused boarding a flight from Cairo via Warsaw to Nice by LOT Polish Airlines because she holds a Russian passport. Despite having all the necessary documents and support letters from the WTA, ITF, and her father who works for the United Nations, she was not allowed to fly and will thus not be able to make it to a tournament in Corsica.
“Does it really help to improve the situation for peace,” Diatchenko wrote on Instagram as she described her distressing experience. Her father was born in Ukraine and has a diplomatic passport, but even though the airline’s policy has no restrictions for family members of people having a diplomatic passport, they refused to let the Sochi-born tennis player board the flight.
As a result, Diatchenko was stuck in Cairo airport for 18 hours, sleeping on benches, with no food available, and not allowed to leave the airport. Moreover, her initial travel plan had to include four flights instead of two, due to visa restrictions forcing her to enter Europe through Spain, the only country that would issue her a visa.
“Hope to be free of politics, racism and nazism,” exclaimed Diatchenko, who competes under a neutral flag, like other Russian and Belarusian tennis players. “Just peace and clear sky, please!”
Having spent a couple thousand dollars on this ordeal, Diatchenko’s only option left is to return home and miss the tennis tournament. (photo: Jimmie48)