Daria Kasatkina: ‘I’m in the luckiest sport,’ she says, as a Russian who is still able to compete.
Russia’s number one female player is excited to return to Wimbledon this year and believes she plays the “luckiest sport” as a Russian.
Daria Kasatkina, world number eight, has previously criticized her country’s invasion of Ukraine, calling the conflict a “full-blown nightmare.”
The All England Club eased its restriction on Russians and Belarusians attending Wimbledon last year.
They were prohibited in response to the war, which Belarus supports.
This year’s competitors must complete a personal declaration distancing themselves from the war and the state.
They are also free to compete under a neutral flag in all other individual tennis competitions, and Kasatkina is aware that many sports prohibit Russian and Belarusian teams and athletes.
“I was really sad to miss Wimbledon last year – of course for a reason, but it was still painful,” said the 25-year-old after defeating Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in the third round of the Madrid Open.
“I’m glad we’ll be able to compete again this year, and to be honest, we’re the luckiest sport because we can still compete.”
“95% of the athletes from Russia could not go outside and compete in international events, and we really appreciate this opportunity and the fact that we can be on the international stage.”
The All England Club and the Lawn Tennis Association have agreed to cover the cost of two accommodations for any Ukrainian player competing in the main or qualifying draw for Wimbledon.
They will also be allowed to practice on courts at the All England Club and in Surbiton once their participation in the French Open concludes.
“Most of the players can’t go back to their practice bases, they can’t go home,” Kasatkina explained. “I think it makes a lot of sense to give them the opportunity to practice in London.”