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'We Should Focus More on Helping Ukrainian Players' - Swiatek Reacts to Tsurenko's Panic Attack, Grievances With Tour

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday March 14, 2023

Iga Swiatek has supported the cause of Ukrainian players ever since Russian’s invasion of its neighbor commenced in February of 2022.

Tennis Express

Living in a country that neighbors Ukraine, and one that has been a victim of brutal Russian aggression in the past, has given Swiatek perspective that not many have.

More than a year after the invasion began in Ukraine, the Polish star continues to advocate for Ukrainians.

She was asked to respond to Lesia Tsurenko’s recent statements on Tuesday night after her victory over Emma Raducanu. Tsurenko revealed that she had suffered a panic attack after talking with Tour CEO Steve Simon about the tour's treatment or Russian and Belarusian players, which caused her to withdraw from her third-round match against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

The 33-year-old said she was “absolutely shocked” by a conversation with Simon, saying she was sickened by the lack of support she felt she and her compatriots were receiving from the tour.

Swiatek agrees that the tour bears responsibility and should step up its support.

“There is a lot of tension in the locker room that – well, obviously it's going to be there, because there is a war,” Swiatek said. “But maybe it should be a little bit less if WTA put some action at the beginning to kind of explain to everybody what is right and what is not.

“I totally understand why she withdrew, because honestly, like, I respect Ukrainian girls like so much, because if like a bomb landed in my country or if my home was destroyed, I don't know if I could handle that, honestly, and play on WTA and compete.”

Swiatek, who held a charity event in Poland last year to support the Ukrainians that raised nearly $500,000, believes that more can be done by everyone involved with the WTA.

“We should more focus on helping Ukrainian players and providing them everything that they need, because they basically have to take care of like all their families, and there's a lot of baggage on their shoulders,” she said, adding: “I'll try to kind of help with that as well, because I guess with everything that is happening, the actions that were taken up to this point were, I don't think they were enough.

“I think we all have the responsibility to kind of show the right example and right things. You know, I don't have influence on some people's values, but I think we are the ones that should set a good example. There is a responsibility on each of us.”

Not only is Swiatek a formidable champion on the court, she’s also a devoted humanitarian off of it. Another reason to root for – and get behind the tremendously talented Pole. And another reason to think deeply about the horrors of war currently being experience by the people Ukraine, and what can be done to alleviate their suffering.