Lesia Tsurenko reveals she withdrew from Indian Wells Masters due to a panic attack
Lesia Tsurenko reveals she withdrew from Indian Wells Masters due to a panic attack she suffered following a discussion with WTA chief about tennis’ response to war in Ukraine
- Lesia Tsurenko was due to face Aryna Sabalenka in the third round on Sunday
- But she handed the Australian Open champion a walkover after a panic attack
- WTA chief told Tsurenko she shouldn’t get upset with those who support the war
Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko has said she withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters after suffering a panic attack following a discussion with WTA chief executive Steve Simon.
World No 95 Tsurenko was due to face Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the third round Sunday, but handed the Australian Open champion a walkover.
Tsurenko said it came after she was left ‘absolutely shocked’ by Simon’s answers in their discussion about tennis’ response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 33-year-old said: ‘He told me he does not support the war, but if the players from Russia and Belarus support it, this is only their opinion, and the opinion of other people should not upset me. At the same time, he noted that if this had happened to him and he had been in my place, he would have felt terrible.’
Wimbledon organisers appear set to lift their ban on Russian and Belarusian players for this summer’s Championships, with the International Olympic Committee potentially heading the same way.
Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko has said she withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters
WTA chief Steve Simon told Tsurenko she shouldn’t get upset with those who support the war
Simon relayed that to Tsurenko, who said: ‘He expressed confidence that the Russians and Belarusians will return to the Olympics and said it will happen exactly as it is happening now in tennis. When asked if he understood what he was saying to me, during the active phase of Russia’s military aggression in my country, he said yes and this was his opinion.
‘Already in the last match (against Donna Vekic) it was incredibly difficult to play. When it was time to go to court, I had a panic attack and could not go out there. I broke down mentally.’
Tsurenko and her fellow Ukrainian players could now pursue a vote of no confidence in Simon.
The WTA said in a statement last night: ‘The WTA has consistently reflected our full support for Ukraine. With this, a fundamental principle of the WTA remains, which is ensuring individual athletes may participate in tennis events based on merit and are not penalised due to the decisions made by the leadership of their country.’