February 3, 2023

Marta Kostyuk: Tennis star asks ‘What am I living for?’ as Ukrainians grapple with the toll of Russia’s invasion

5 min read

Kostyuk, 19, who was born in Kyiv, reflects on the effects of Russia’s invasion on his country and fellow Ukrainian players, to understand the emotional turmoil and suffering that sometimes occurs.

“There’s something unspeakable right now, I would say, because the parents of a tennis player have died,” Kostuk told CNN Sport. “There is a tennis player’s house that was completely destroyed,” he said.

Kostyuk’s own mental health has also been affected.

“It was very difficult, the first week or two,” he told CNN in a telephone interview earlier this month.

“It’s been two months and you know, it’s up and down, it changes. I’m trying to guide myself a little bit, just trying to see where I am. Trying to feel and trying to know myself, “he added.

Kostyuk is well aware of the importance of trying to control her emotions and says she is working with a psychologist.

Kostyuk added, “I started a few weeks ago, which helps me a lot. But you know, sometimes it goes to a certain extent that it’s scary, the thoughts that come to you, Kostuk added.

“I don’t want to say words because you know, you can guess who I’m trying to talk about.

“Because at the moment, a lot of things are going on, you need to take everything together like you are, I can’t handle it anymore.

“I’m just like that, what’s the point of all this going on? It never ends like what should I do with my life now? Who am I living for?” she said.

Marta Kostyuk is ranked 74th in the world in singles and 60th in doubles.

‘I must not remain silent’

What has helped Kostyuk and his aim is to make people aware of the war in Ukraine?

“Everyone is doing it differently, but my only goal is not to feel like I’m in this situation.”

“Because I am not and I am not putting myself in that position. For the first two weeks [of the invasion]I felt like I was a victim, like, I don’t know what to do because I rarely feel that way in my life.

“And it was a turning point for me when I changed my mindset of not being a victim,” he said.

“I shouldn’t keep quiet. I shouldn’t say what I think. I shouldn’t scream in the upper part of my lungs, like, please help us. We specifically say what helped us. Required.

“I’m still a tennis player, and I still want to compete. I don’t want to be injured. I don’t want it to go to certain points where I’m just, ‘You know what?’ I can’t play tennis right now … I can’t do anything. “

Kostyuk is one of several Ukrainian players who have met. Russian and Belarusian Athletes should condemn the Russian government’s decision to invade Ukraine if they want to take part in international competitions.

‘Big responsibility’

Earlier this month Wimbledon Organizers have announced that Russian and Belarusian players will not be allowed to compete in this year’s edition following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Serbia Novak Djokovic Criticizing the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players at Wimbledon this year, he called the move “crazy”.

Meanwhile, Russian tennis star Andrei Rubello called the ban “irrational” and “totally discriminatory.”

At a media conference on Tuesday, Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), which runs Wimbledon, said: “It’s not discriminatory in the way it is being said, There is a point of view that has been reached. In each case, the decision has been made correctly and responsibly. “

In a Twitter post in early April, Kostyuk said: “As athletes we live in the public eye and therefore we have a huge responsibility …

Kostyuk is joined by Ukrainian players Elena Svetolina and Sergei Stakhovsky. WTA, The ITF and ATP asked the players of these two nationalities to condemn the attack.

‘Inside the tour, we are alone’

Kostyuk told CNN that critics of his position have argued that “tennis players have nothing to do with politics.”

“I don’t understand, what’s the use of splitting these two things? It’s a big system we’re going through. We can’t live without each other, and vice versa,” he said.

“So for me [the idea that] “The game is out of politics.” In fact, over the years, it has turned out to be quite the opposite, “he said.

“We are trying to talk about the fact that no player really came forward and talked to us to try to help in any way,” he said.

“We used to be friends with a lot of players,” he said. I am no longer a friend like any other player.

“We know the whole world is trying to support us. [Ukraine]. Everyone knows that what is happening is wrong. And yet inside the tour, we’re alone, “he said.

Kostyuk is playing a shot against Belarus' Arena Sabalinka on the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Tournament on February 15, 2022.

In response to the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from this year’s Wimbledon tournament, the WTA distanced itself from the AELTC decision.

The WTA strongly condemns Russia’s actions and its unprovoked attack on Ukraine.

“We are continuing our humanitarian efforts to help Ukraine through the Tennis Play for Peace,” the organization said in a statement, adding that it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision of the AELTC and the Lawn Tennis Association. He also announced that it would be banned. Belarusian and Russian athletes taking part in their events.

He added, “One of the basic principles of the WTA is that individual players can compete in professional tennis competitions on the basis of merit and without any discrimination.”

The ATP took a similar stance, saying the decision was “unfair and has the potential to set a precedent for the game.”

“Discrimination on the basis of nationality is also a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon, which states that player admissions are based solely on ATP rankings,” he added.

“It is important to emphasize that Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete under neutral flags in ATP events, a position that is still shared in professional tennis.”

“Everyone has a choice.”

However, Kostyuk said she believes it is the responsibility of Russian and Belarusian players to take a stand on the attack if they do not support it.

“Russian tennis players, some of them are not actually living in Russia. [They] They have every right to take their family and go out and say whatever they really feel is right, if they feel they have to speak out.

“Yet they are not doing it. They have plenty of time to do it. Let’s be honest,” he added.

“Everyone has a choice. There are a lot of tennis players who have the resources to move their families out of the country. And yet they are not doing that. Why, I don’t know.

“I do not want to live in a country that does not allow me to speak; that does not allow me to live my life; it (wants) my family to be in danger because of my actions.

“That’s why we’re trying to force them to speak up in any way, like if you support this attack, talk about it; just state your opinion publicly. But they know.” “If they do, they’ll be out of work,” she said.

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