Sports

War in Ukraine – Marta Kostyuk attacks Russians and Belarusians: “Pretending nothing is wrong”

Number 60 on the world rankings showed no understanding for his peers. “I don’t know how long it takes before they stop making excuses to do something,” said Kostyuk Eurosport.

Recently, compatriot Elina Svitolina had criticized Russian tennis players for their “superficial declarations” against the war in Ukraine, referring in particular to Andrey Rublev. The 24-year-old wrote “No war, please” on a camera lens in Dubai in February after reaching the final.
Svitolina therefore questioned Rublev’s message. “Does this mean that our Ukrainian soldiers should simply surrender and obliterate our country? Is that what ‘no war’ means?”, The Ukrainian asked the BBC, saying, “You can think about it in different ways.”

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In mid-April, Svitolina and Kostyuk, along with numerous Ukrainian athletes, published a statement in which the authors called on the WTA, ATP and ITF organizations to ask Russian and Belarusian athletes three questions about their positions on the war.

Kostyuk reiterated his call for clearer signals from his peers and refused to accept that the players feared for their families in Russia and Belarus had not taken a clear stand. “Let’s be honest: the players who are in the top 50 have all the money to allow their families to move,” she said on the sidelines of the WTA tournament in the Spanish capital.

Rublev sends a clear anti-war message after the victory

Kostyuk clearly: “Everyone has a choice”

“So please. It’s been two months,” said the 19-year-old. “They have all the options to move their families to another place. It’s just a sacrifice that people aren’t willing to make. It’s not that you don’t have a choice. Everyone has a choice in life,” Kostyuk clarified and reported. about acquaintances in Russia.

“I know people who have fled Russia because they cannot live in such a country. Because they cannot live in a country where they are not allowed to say or do certain things,” explained Kostyuk. The 19-year-old himself reported that she had to pick up her family from Ukraine and stressed the sacrifices she and many compatriots had to make.

Marta Kostyuk at Indian Wells 2022

Photo credit: Getty Images

“I had to do my job and take care of my family. Why not?” She asked, expressing her misunderstanding and becoming clear. “I’m just finding the excuse, ‘I have a family there and it’s dangerous’ – honestly, I got over it. Let’s find something else,” Kostyuk said in an exclusive interview with Eurosport.

Furthermore, no public figures in Russia have been jailed for opposing the war. That is why Kostyuk finds it all the more incomprehensible that many Russians have decided not to leave the country. “If it is your decision to continue living in a country that does not guarantee your freedoms, basic human freedoms, there would be so many options for action. So many excuses for so many weeks,” Kostyuk complained.

Svitolina with tears in her eyes: “I’m on a mission”

Kostyuk cuts off contacts with Russians and Belarusians

He also rejected rumors that politics should not be confused with sport. “Sport has always been political”, clarified Kostyuk, dismissing other opinions as “excuses” of Russian athletes for not having to take sides against their own country.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian herself has cut off all contact with Russian and Belarusian players. “We were friends and they never thought about coming and talking to me,” she moaned, explaining, “I think that’s a good reason no matter what their feelings are. It’s me I really don’t care,” she explained on the sidelines. of the Madrid clay court tournament.

The 19-year-old told “CNN”: “We know the whole world supports us. Everyone knows what’s happening is wrong. Yet we’re alone on the tour.”

Before Sunday’s second round match against Emma Raducanu, Kostyuk also gave an insight into her emotional world, talked about a “roller coaster ride” since the Russian invasion of Ukraine under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, and spoke of dark days. In an interview with “CNN” Kostyuk said: “For the first two weeks after the invasion, I felt like I was a victim. I didn’t know what to do because I rarely feel like this in my life.”

Marta Kostyuk in her first round match at the Madrid Open against Denmark’s Clara Tauson.

Photo credit: Getty Images

The Ukrainian needs psychological support

But then his way of thinking changed. “I shouldn’t be silent. I should say what I think,” she said. Opposite Eurosport now she stressed how important it is for her to play and win games for her country. “It helps me a lot when I win to raise my voice. I think that’s what I should do, what I have to do. And that’s my position from day one,” explained Kostyuk.

She receives the support of a psychologist, who helps her organize her feelings and experiences. “One day you are fine, the next day you are awful. It is not easy for me as an emotional person,” admitted the 19-year-old Ukrainian. Some weeks are even so difficult that Kostyuk has already wondered what is the point of “living here”. Coping with this requires “a lot of mental strength and work,” he explained, adding, “But I’m doing my best.”

Kostyuk said he could go to Ukraine to help there. But he decided “that the tennis court is the place where I will fight my battle”, adding, “I don’t know if I would feel better than on the court, but I made my decision and I will never know what it would have been like otherwise.”

On Sunday (from 15:00 live) the Ukrainian will meet the British Emma Raducanu in the second round of the Madrid Open. On Friday she had won in the first round against the Danish Clara Tauson 6: 3 6: 2.

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