Elina Svitolina: “It’s not right for the Russians to keep playing”


Elina Svitolina has criticized Wimbledon’s recent decision to lift the ban on Russian and Belarusian tennis players, who will therefore be able to take part in the third Grand Slam of the season.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, the Ukrainian tennis player said rather critically: “It shouldn’t be like this in my opinion, what the tournament did last year was the right decision.

This year everything has changed and it’s very sad because the war is still terrible, the Russian army is still killing a lot of innocent people. It’s not fair play. I think there’s only one place where I still trained.

The place where I trained the most was blown up by a missile. Our sport has been set back by at least ten years. Ours cannot train properly and there are 150 athletes who have been killed fighting on the front lines. It is obvious that these are not fair conditions.”

Svitolina on Russian and Belarusian in other sports

Svitolina attacked the current policy of the ATP, WTA and ITF: “The war has brought Ukrainian players closer together. And we all agree that it’s not fair to us for Russians and Belarusians to keep playing.

Other sports, the Olympic ones, don’t allow Russian athletes to compete, it’s practically only tennis that allows them and I don’t know why that is. Mentally it’s very difficult to know that maybe there are some players with you in the dressing room who are supporting the war. Since most of them haven’t come out with a clear statement, you never know what they’re really thinking.”

The former world number three then said in the interview: “Even though it was in many ways heartwarming to return, it was sad to see Odessa like this. It’s hard for my grandmother to go out, because the elevator doesn’t work where she lives. Odessa used to be a lovely place people went on holiday, normally there is a very relaxed atmosphere but now it’s very dreary.

There are a lot of military on the streets and 95% of the place is without lights. Only sometimes there is heat and it was incredibly difficult for people in the middle of winter, when it was minus five or minus ten degrees.”

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