Tsurenko urges fellow Ukranians to beat Russians - "No sympathy for any of them"

Tsurenko urges fellow Ukranians to beat Russians - "No sympathy for any of them"

by Evita Mueller

Lesia Tsurenko has been a passionate advocate for Ukraine during the conflict with Russia and she has urged her fellow players to beat Russians.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a very complicated matter with the effects of felt by everyone and everywhere. Sports has not been the exception because politics and sports have always been linked, far more than some might think.

Tennis is no different and there has been support for the Ukranian cause across the board. Events like Wimbledon pledged support, and players like Swiatek have been outspoken about their support though there were other types of comments as well. Some players have gotten a lot of backlash over their lack of open support for the cause. Tsurenko was one of those that criticised some of her colleagues and she's now urged her compatriots to beat Russians everywhere.

My message for the French Open is it is like what I said about other sports - we just have to go and beat them on any field. There is no sense for Ukrainian sportsmen to give up. What sort of message does that give? In tennis we tried so many things to ban them and the tennis organisations do not want to listen to us.

Ukrainian and Russian tennis players have played since the invasion and a lot of the time the match was quite frosty. There weren't any smiles or pleasantries exchanged and most matches didn't even feature a handshake. The tension in WTA locker rooms was palpable and pretty obvious, even among former best friends.

Tsurenko herself hasn't got any sympathy for her Russian counterparts because all the backlash they have been getting is nothing compared to the suffering her people are going through right now. She even suggested that some support the war.

Just one person spoke directly to me the first day of the war. That person told me with tears in their eyes that everything going on is so terrible. Now no more players talk to me. I do not have much sympathy for any of them. I can just say if they suffer we suffer much more. I honestly do not think they want to speak out because those who support the war will be revealed.


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