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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

WTA agrees to meet Ukraine players as locker-room tension grows

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Miami — The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) will meet Ukrainian players to discuss their concerns as locker-room tension with Russian and Belarus players continues to simmer in the sport.

Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk told reporters on Thursday that the players had requested a meeting with the WTA board but had been ignored.

“We wanted to have the meeting with the board and we didn’t get one. No reply, nothing, just silence,” she told reporters after losing to Russian Anastasia Potapova at the Miami Open.

A WTA spokesperson confirmed to AFP that a request from the players has been received by the organisation and that a meeting would be held when a suitable date has been found.

The WTA also said that previous requests for meetings with the Ukrainian players had been granted and meetings held.

Kostyuk declined on Thursday to go into details about the issues that the players wished to discuss.

“I mean, once we’re in the meeting we can talk about it. Before the meeting, I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about what we want to talk about there,” she said.

But tensions rose after Potapova was given a formal warning for wearing a Spartak Moscow shirt before a match in Indian Wells.

Kostyuk and Potapova did not shake hands after their game in Miami.

Earlier this week, world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus said she had faced “hate” in the locker room and referred to a row with a Ukrainian coach.

Last week, world No 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland had called on the WTA to do more to help players from the war-torn nation.

Speaking after Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko pulled out of Indian Wells citing a panic attack, Swiatek said: “I feel more should be done to help Ukrainian players because everything we discuss in tennis is about Belarusian and Russian players.”


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