WTA accused of ignoring request for meeting with Ukrainian players – ‘Just silence’

Shahida Jacobs
Marta Kostyuk talks to the media

Marta Kostyuk claims the powers that be at the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) are yet to reply to requests from Ukrainian players for a meeting about current tension in women’s tennis.

Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine last February has started to take its toll in tennis as Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from her match against Aryna Sabalenka at the Indian Wells Open a fortnight ago and she later revealed she suffered a “panic attack” after talks with WTA CEO Steve Simon, saying she “was completely shocked by this conversation”.

Not long after Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka revealed she has been on the receiving end of “hate” because of her nationality adding that there is “tension” in the locker room.

Simon, though, insisted that the WTA was doing all they can to support Ukrainian players while they will also continue to talk with the Russian and Belarusian players, adding “we think that the neutral approach is appropriate”.

Ukraine’s Kostyuk took on Russian Anastasia Potapova at the Miami Open on Thursday and after the match the former refused to shake hands with the latter following a 6-1, 6-4 defeat.

The 20-year-old then revealed that requests for a meeting with the top brass have so far fallen on deaf ears.

“Yes, we wanted to have the meeting with the board and we didn’t get one. No reply, nothing, just silence,” she revealed.

The world No 38 added: “I mean, once we’re in the meeting we can talk about it. Before the meeting, I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about what we want to talk about there.”

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek wants more support for Ukrainian players

Potapova recently received a warning from the WTA after she wore a Spartak Moscow football jersey when walking out on court.

Kostyuk continued: “There are a lot of things that I don’t agree with that WTA is doing. This is not going to change anything.

“I’ll just get more hate online. Whatever I say, I will get a lot of hate. I don’t know. Warning, whatever. You give her a warning… You can suspend someone, I don’t know. I can’t comment on that really, it’s just funny.”

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka denied suggestions that there was tension in the locker room, but Kyiv-born admitted that not everything was rosy.

“I might not say ‘Hi’ to some players, but I never approached anyone,” she said. “Maybe I myself spread hate just by being there. I don’t know when people come out with that. But obviously there is tension – we’re not friends. We are at war at the moment.”

READ MORE: Victoria Azarenka rebuffs claims of tension in locker room, fires back at Iga Swiatek over Ukraine comments