Iga Swiatek says Ukraine war has caused ‘chaos’ in sport
Reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek says the Ukraine war has caused “chaos” in the world of sport.
In an interview with French daily Le Monde on Tuesday, the Pole also hit out at the ruling bodies of tennis, the ATP and WTA, saying they had failed to provide leadership on the issue of Ukrainian players facing Russians on the court.
“There are indeed tensions among the players, sometimes the atmosphere in the locker room is quite heavy,” the 21-year-old said.
“At the beginning of the conflict, there was a lack of leadership on the part of the tennis authorities, we were not brought together to explain how we were supposed to manage this complex situation and how to behave.
“Those who are in the worst position are the Ukrainian players and it would be good if we paid more attention to what they feel and what they endure.”
Her fears were illustrated on Sunday when Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk was booed at the French Open for refusing to shake hands with Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka.
Kostyuk said the Paris crowd should “feel embarrassed” by their actions.
Swiatek, whose country neighbors Ukraine, was asked if she would support the participation of athletes from Russia and their ally Belarus at the Paris Olympics next year.
“It is not for us as athletes to make such a decision,” she said. “There is currently a kind of chaos in sport and the most important thing is not to make it worse, to share values that are the right ones and to be clear that we cannot tolerate the ongoing war.”
Russia and Belarus were banned from international competition following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022,
In March this year, the International Olympic Committee recommended that Russian and Belarusian athletes return to international competition, without commenting on their possible presence at the Paris Games.