Elina Svitolina: Ukraine tennis star boycotts WTA event, asks tennis bodies ATP, WTA, ITF to take firm stance

Ukrainian world No 15 Elina Svitolina has withdrawn from a WTA Tour event and urged tennis organisations to follow the IOC’s recommendation to accept Russian or Belarussian nationals only as neutral athletes.

Svitolina was scheduled to play against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova at a WTA Tour event in Monterrey, Mexico on Tuesday, but confirmed on Monday she had pulled out.

The 2019 Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist took to social media to say: “I believe the current situation requires a clear position form our organisations: ATP, WTA and ITF.

“As such, we – Ukrainian players – requested to ATP, WTA and ITF to follow the recommendations of the ICO to accept Russian or Belarusian nationals only as neutral athletes, without displaying any national symbols, colours, flags or anthems.
“Accordingly, I want to announce that I will not play tomorrow in Monterrey, nor any other match against Russian or Belarussian tennis players until our organisations take this necessary decision.

“Moreover, I wish to pay tribute to all the players, especially Russians and Belarusians, who bravely stated their position against the war. Their support is essential.”

The ITF said it has cancelled its events on Russian soil indefinitely, and no events would be scheduled in Belarus this year. It also postponed an event scheduled for Ukraine in April, citing heightened security concerns.

“This is a fast-evolving situation. We are constantly monitoring events and remain in active discussion with the ITF tennis family, the ITF Board and security experts to decide and align around our next course of action,” the statement read.

“We stand united with the population of Ukraine. Right now, our priority remains the safety of all those participating in our events. We will of course be providing more information as soon as possible.”

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