Number 60 on the world rankings showed no understanding for her colleagues. “I do not know how long it will take before they stop finding excuses to do something,” Kostyuk said. Eurosport.
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In mid-April, Svitolina and Kostyuk, along with several Ukrainian athletes, published a statement asking the WTA, ATP, and ITF organizations to ask Russian and Belarusian athletes three questions about their attitude toward the war.
Kostyuk reiterated his call for clearer signals from his colleagues and refused to accept that players who feared for their families in Russia and Belarus did not take a clear stance. “Let’s be honest: players who are in the top 50 have all the money to enable their families to relocate,” she said on the sidelines of the WTA tournament in the Spanish capital.
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“So thank you. It’s been two months now,” the 19-year-old said. “They have every opportunity to move their families to another place. It’s just a sacrifice that people are not willing to make. It’s not like you do not have a choice. Everyone has a choice in life,” Kostyuk clarified and reported on acquaintances in Russia.
“I know people who fled Russia because they can not live in such a country. Because they can not live in a country where they are not allowed to say or do certain things,” Kostyuk explained. The 19-year-old herself reported that she had to get her family out of Ukraine and pointed out the victims she and many compatriots had to bring.
Marta Kostyuk at Indian Wells 2022
Photo Credit: Getty Images
“I had to do my job and take care of my family. Why don’t they?” she asked, expressing her misunderstanding and becoming clear. “Just to find the excuse: ‘I have family there and it’s dangerous’ – honestly, I’m over it. Let’s find something else,” said Kostyuk in an exclusive interview with Eurosport.
In addition, no public figure in Russia has been jailed for opposing the war. That is why Kostyuk finds it all the more incomprehensible that many Russians have decided not to leave the country. “If it’s your decision to continue living in a country that does not give you freedoms, basic human freedoms – there would be so many opportunities to act. So many excuses for so many weeks,” Kostyuk lamented.
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She also rejected voices that politics should not be confused with sports. “Sport has always been political,” Kostyuk clarified, rejecting other opinions as “excuses” from Russian athletes for not having to stand up to their own country.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian himself has severed all contact with Russian and Belarusian players. “We were friends and they never thought about coming up and talking to me,” she lamented, explaining, “I think that’s a pretty good reason, no matter what their feelings are. It’s me, it’s really no matter, “she explained on the sidelines of the clay court tournament in Madrid.
The 19-year-old told “CNN”: “We know the whole world supports us. Everyone knows that what is happening is wrong. And yet we are alone on the tour.”
Marta Kostyuk in her first round match at the Madrid Open against Denmark’s Clara Tauson.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Ukrainians need psychological support
But then her way of thinking changed. “I should not be silent. I should say what I think,” she said. Opposite Eurosport she now stressed how important it is for her to play and win matches for her country. “It helps me a lot when I win to raise my voice. I think that’s what I have to do, what I have to do. And that’s my position since day one,” Kostyuk explained.
She is supported by a psychologist who helps her organize her feelings and experiences. “One day you are fine, the next day you are terrible. It is not easy for me as an emotional person,” the 19-year-old Ukrainian admitted. Some weeks are even so difficult that Kostyuk has already asked himself what meaning it gives “to live here”. Coping with it requires “a lot of mental strength and work,” she explained, adding, “But I do my best.”
Kostyuk said she could have been taken to Ukraine to help there. But she decided, “that the tennis court is where I want to fight my match”, adding: “I do not know if I would feel better than on the court, but I made my decision and will never know how it would otherwise have been. “
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