WTA

'Losing one tournament is nothing' - Ukraine's Tsurenko criticises ATP & WTA for Wimbledon ranking points decision

By Sports Desk May 23, 2022

Lesia Tsurenko has criticised the ATP and WTA for stripping Wimbledon of its ranking points, insisting that Russian and Belarusian players missing one tournament is not a big price to pay for the atrocities committed in Ukraine.

The two tours made the decision in response to Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament. Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked worldwide condemnation, was facilitated by neighbouring Belarus.

Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to compete on the ATP and WTA Tours under neutral flags, but the saga surrounding Wimbledon not permitting them to do so has prompted doubts over how many players will participate with no ranking points on offer.

Naomi Osaka said she was leaning towards not playing at the All England Club, saying it was "more like an exhibition" without points available, following her first-round defeat at the French Open on Monday.

Ukrainian Tsurenko, who lost to Polish world number one Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros, was emphatic in expressing her disapproval of the decision of the ATP and WTA.

"The Wimbledon decision, of course as a Ukrainian, I think that I should show as much support for my country as I can, and I think it was the right decision from Wimbledon just to show some support from the tennis world," Tsurenko said in her post-match media conference.

"Of course, I didn't like the decision about playing with no points. I hope that, I don't know, I just hope that something will change in the tennis world in the mind of the players and in the mind of our association.

"But for now it is the way it is. Unfortunately for me, but what can we do with that?"

Tsurenko said she expressed her opinion to the WTA "many times".

Asked what reply she received, she added: "Nothing that can make me happy. I think my personal opinion is that as we see a lot of sports, they banned Russian, a number of Russian players and in tennis it's only one tournament.

"I honestly think that this is not a very big price for them to pay or to accept. I think it's not too much, it's not much, really, it's just one tournament.

"But, I don't know, for them they feel like they are losing their job. And I also feel many bad things, I feel a lot of terrible things and I think compared to that, losing a chance to play in one tournament is nothing."

Tsurenko also criticised a lack of support from the governing bodies and her fellow players, though she praised Swiatek, who wore a pin in support of Ukraine.

"For me personally it's tough to be here, just because I don't get much words said about the support of my country and this is, yeah, it's just tough to be with people who look like they don't understand," said Tsurenko. 

"It's just tough. It's just because it's me, I'm Ukrainian, and there's a war in my country and it's tough. I think five players spoke to me, maybe four or five. Maybe a few more coaches.

"I would like to get more support probably, but what can I do?

"I really appreciate the support that Iga is showing and I know that Poland in general is doing so much for Ukraine and that, I mean, they are amazing in general, the people, the president of Poland, the politics, everyone, just amazing support for Ukrainian people, for Ukrainian refugees and what I see on the TV, the friendship between Ukraine and Poland is amazing.

"I want the whole world to see that Ukraine is a beautiful country with beautiful people. I don't know if I can ask players to care more, but I would like to see that from the players, from the WTA, from ATP, I would like top players just to support more and to show more understanding of what is really going on.

"Because it's just life and life is, as I said before, more than a tennis match."

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