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Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina took a stand on Monday.
Svitolina was due to face Russia’s Anastasia Potapova at the Monterrey Open on Tuesday, but vowed she would not go to court unless the sport’s governing bodies take action against Russia for its invasion of her home country .
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“We Ukrainian players have asked the ATP, WTA and ITF to follow the IOC’s recommendations to accept Russian or Belarus nationals only as neutral athletes, without displaying any symbols, colors , flags or national anthems,” Svitolina said in a statement on Instagram.
“As a result, I want to announce that I will not be playing tomorrow in Monterrey, or any other match against Russian or Belarusian tennis players until our organizations make this necessary decision.
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“I don’t blame any of the Russian athletes. They are not responsible for invading our homeland.
“Furthermore, I want to pay tribute to all the players, especially Russians and Belarusians, who have courageously asserted their position against the war. Their support is essential.”
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Potapova responded to Svitolina’s decision.
“Even when I was a child, I dreamed of playing tennis without choosing a match, a country or a partner in the game… for me there is no opponent from any country, I fight for the win, my best game, my best result… Unfortunately, now we professional athletes are essentially becoming hostages to the current situation… I am against heartbreak, tears and war,” she said. wrote on Instagram.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has urged the governing bodies of each sport to exclude Russian athletes and officials from international events, including the World Cup.
Russian Olympic Committee chief Stanislav Pozdnyakov said he disagreed with the IOC’s decision.
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Svitolina is world No. 15 and finished in the semi-finals of the Wimbledon tournaments and the 2019 US Open.