Marta Kostyuk Indian Wells WTA 2021

‘They pretend they are the victims’ – WTA teen star slams Russian and Belarusian players ahead of Emma Raducanu clash

Ukrainian WTA number 60 Marta Kostyuk is not having any of the “excuses” put forward by Russian and Belarusian players in how they have reacted to sanctions against them. 

The 19-year-old believes players from the two nations must do more to condemn the Russian invasion of her nation.

Kostyuk made the comments ahead of her Madrid Open second round clash with fellow teen sensation Emma Raducanu, their second WTA tour level meeting.

She told Eurosport: “[Russian and Belarusian players] pretend like nothing is going on.

“They pretend they are the victims of this situation, which I honestly cannot understand.”

“I don’t know how much time needs to pass before they stop making excuses for themselves to do whatever, to do anything.

“Any decision, any movement.”

On the point of silence, there is the possibility that Russian athletes are frightened of speaking out against the war in fear of repercussions for their family back in Russia. 

However, Kostyuk wholly rejects such a notion, especially for top players.

She added: “Let’s be honest, players who are at least in the top 50 have all the money to move their families.

“Come on, it’s been two months, they have all the possibilities to move their family somewhere.

“It’s just the sacrifice that people choose not to make.

“It’s not like you have no choice, everyone has a choice in life.”

While players from Russia and Belarus are continuing to play on the ATP and WTA tour as neutral athletes, they were sensationally banned from Wimbledon last month.

Figures like 18-time singles Slam champion Martina Navratilova and world number one Novak Djokovic, as well as both the ATP and WTA tours, have publicly opposed the ban. 

The tours will reportedly meet to discuss the sanction at the Madrid Open this week.

On the other hand, many including Ukrainian former world number three Elina Svitolina support the ban.

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