Elina Svitolina refuses to play Russian opponent

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Elina Svitolina has led calls for the tennis authorities to take a stance on Russian and Belarussian representatives following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The World No. 15 is due to play Anastasia Potapova in Round 1 of the Monterrey Open but currently will not compete until there is an agreement reached for players to compete as neutrals.

Such a decision would follow many sporting bodies in taking some action against Russian representatives or competitors. UEFA/FIFA were the most high profile representatives to institute a ban while action has also been taken by the IIHF (Ice Hockey), FIVB (volleyball) and ISU (figure skating) authorities.

She posted the following statement on her Instagram;

“Dear all, I believe the current situation requires a clear position from our organisations: ATP, WTA and ITF,’

“As such we – Ukrainian players – requested to ATP, WTA and ITF to follow the recommendations of the IOC 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 Belarusian tennis players until our organisations take this necessary decision.

“I do not blame any of the Russian athletes. They are not responsible for the invasion of our motherland.

“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.’

There has been some support from Russian athletes on the tour so far with Andrey Rublev making the news last week in Dubai while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also put out a Twitter statement out against the war.

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