Ukrainian-born tennis player claims many Russian players mock war: ‘They laugh about it, make fun of it’

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Ukrainian-born tennis player Eva Lys, who now lives in Germany, accused Russian tennis players of making fun of the war in Ukraine and coldly laughing about it while wearing Russian colors.

But she appears to believe it is the Russian government that should be held accountable, not individual players.

Lys openly supports banning Russian teams from playing internationally but told Eurosport in an interview this week which was translated by The Telegraph that she believes individuals should not be excluded from tournaments over the war and politics.

The 20-year-old tennis star was born in Kyiv. She commented that Russian players acted inappropriately at the ​​ITF Kazakhstan 02A this week.

“Many Russian players who are here show disrespect to those affected by the Ukraine war. They laugh about it, make fun of it. Some are demonstratively putting on tracksuits in the Russian national colors. It is all the more important that we spread widely what is really happening there,” she asserted.

A number of American players are wearing Ukrainian colors in support of the besieged nation. Lys also wore her home country’s colors as a sign of support while playing on the court. She said that she is looked down upon by others for doing so.

“There were no verbal reactions to my outfit,” she told German newspaper Bild in an interview, “but you could feel the looks. The air is very thick.”

A number of international sports federations are working to ban Russia and its ally Belarus from competitions. Players in some sports have also been banned in light of Russia’s aggression.

On Tuesday, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that the Russian Tennis Federation and Belarus Tennis Federation were indefinitely suspended from international events due to Russia invading Ukraine.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) were right behind them and declared that the “safety of the tennis community is our most immediate collective priority.”

“First of all, I think it’s very good that the tennis associations ITF, WTA, and ATP acted quickly – and rightly so. Tennis pros don’t embody a country in the same way that national teams do. So I think it’s right to ban Russian teams to send a crystal clear message. And I think it’s good that flags or the reference to Russia are removed in tennis, but the individual professionals are allowed to play,” Lys stated.

The young tennis player has kept in touch with her relatives from Ukraine and described to Eurosport how citizens there are “living a terrible nightmare.”

“I want to get one thing straight: it’s awful and I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s terrible. For example, I have a picture of a friend of my mother’s sleeping in the subway with her little daughter. When we talk on the phone, the bombs can be heard through the phone. Humans are helpless in the face of attacks, but they are incredibly brave,” she remarked.

“My grandmother and grandfather have now left Ukraine and arrived in Poland after a three-day journey. The other men from the family stayed in Kyiv to help,” Lys recounted.


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