Elina Svitolina Indian Wells 2021

Russian chief hits back at ‘nobody’ Elina Svitolina whilst thanking top players for their ‘support’

Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev has criticized Elina Svitolina for asking Russian and Belarusian players to speak up against the invasion of Ukraine as he labelled her a “nobody”. 

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina has been one of the most vocal players about Russia’s invasion of her home country and the Wimbledon ban as on several occasions she has called on players to condemn the Russian government.

Last month, after the All England Tennis Club and Lawn Tennis Association decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon and other grass-court events in the UK, the former world number three argued that the two nations players should be permitted to compete at Wimbledon as long as they denounce the war and the the Putin regime.

In a recent interview, Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpischev took aim at the 27-year-old stating she is a “nobody”.

“No need to pay attention, this is not only my opinion, but also of lawyers. If we make any statement we can be removed from some competitions. Now we are playing, everything is fine with us. It’s stupid to react at all. Who is Svitolina? A nobody.”

Tarpischev continued as he discussed other high profile player’s opposition to the Wimbledon ban, thanking them for their “support.”

“Support from the [tennis] top players is always needed. Players and the [Russian] federation are grateful to all of the players who have already come out in defence of our athletes who were not allowed to compete [at Wimbledon].

“In my opinion, all the top players should support us and thus defend the competitive principle in the tennis world.”

The likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have spoken against the ban, with the world number one labeling it a “crazy decision.”

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