Ukraine tennis player Elina Svitolina has withdrawn from the Monterrey Open.
The top-seeded star called on tennis tours to take action on Russian athletes following Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.
“I believe the current situation requires a clear position from our organisations: ATP, WTA, and ITF,” she wrote in a statement.
“As such, we – Ukrainian players – requested to ATP, WTA and ITF to follow the recommendations of the IOC to accept Russian and Belarussian nationals only as neutral athletes, without displaying any national symbols, colours, flags or anthems.”
— Elina Monfils (@ElinaSvitolina) February 28, 2022
She added: “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.”
Svitolina went onto say that she does ‘not blame’ any of the Russian athletes, nor does she hold them responsible for the ‘invasion of our motherland’.
“I wish to pay tribute to all the players, especially Russians and Belarussian, who bravely stated their position against the war.”
Potapova released her own statement after Svitolina refused to play against her, condemning the war.
— Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (@NastiaPav) February 28, 2022
“I’m just an athlete who plays tennis,” she wrote. “I can only publicly disagree with these decisions taken and openly talk about it. Stop the violence, stop the war.”
While no action on athletes specifically has been taken by governing bodies, the ITF has cancelled its events in Russia and Ukraine, with no plans to schedule anything for Belarus this year.
“We stand with the population of Ukraine,” they said in a statement. “Right now, our priority remains the safety of all those participating in our events.”