Daria Kasatkina feeling ‘free and happy’ after coming out as Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff offer praise

Delight for Daria Kasatkina

A few weeks after coming out as lesbian, Daria Kasatkina feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders, but she is delighted that her decision to speak publicly has helped other people.

While there are several players who are out on the WTA Tour, homosexuality remains a taboo topic in many parts of the world and the LGBTQ+ community in Russia cannot live freely.

In July the 25-year-old Kasatkina became one of the highest-profile tennis players and Russians to publicly reveal she is in a same-sex relationship.

Speaking to Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, she said: “Living in the closet is impossible. Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters. So many subjects are taboo in Russia. Some of them more important than ours, it’s no surprise.

“This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming [gay] is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight.

“If there is a choice, nobody would choose being gay, why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?”

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Although the 25-year-old braced herself for a backlash, she has received a lot of positive feedback.

“I don’t know how the social media filter works, but I’ve just heard very good things,” she told WTA Insider. “Not just from the west but also people from my country.

“I’m really happy about it. As I saw, it was not just a good thing for me, also it helped other people. That’s great and I feel great. I feel happy about it and about myself and that’s most important.”

Kasatkina added: “Yeah, I feel more free and happy. I think I made the right step. With the situation in the world, all this stuff that is tough, when if not now? Let’s put everything into the same pool.”

The WTA community itself has been supportive of the Russian with former world No 1 Naomi Osaka saying she needs all the backing she can get as “it is a bit of a dangerous situation”.

“I thought it was really amazing how she’s doing that,” the four-time Grand Slam winner said. “I do think we have to rally to support her because it is a bit of a dangerous situation. But I think in all of that it’s really incredible that she’s coming out and she’s standing for what she believes in. I’m always in support of that.”

The 18-year-old Coco Gauff believes Kasatkina has inspired many people in a similar situation.

“I think in tennis, at least with the girls around, we’re all very supportive of each other no matter the background or identity,” the American said. “I don’t think there’s any judgment when it comes to that.

“I’m grateful that she felt comfortable enough sharing that part of her life. She didn’t have to do that. But I can only imagine how many people in her situation feel inspired by that.”