Lesia Tsurenko has admitted she feels “ignored” by her Russian and Belarusian colleagues amid the invasion of Ukraine. The former world No 23 recently opened up on having “nowhere to go” after crashing out of her most recent tournament with her home of Ukraine the site of war.
Tsurenko recently shared an emotional post admitting she had no home to return to after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The four-time title winner had been out of the country competing in Mexico when the war began and went on to compete in Indian Wells, Miami and a WTA 125k in Marbella before being left without any more tournaments to play in until the upcoming clay swing.
She has now opened up on what life is like at home in Ukraine for her family, including her mother who is refusing to leave and struggling with the bomb alarms. The 32-year-old also admitted she thought some of her fellow players were sending the wrong message in relation to the war and felt “ignored” by some of the Russians on tour. “I wrote on Twitter that I currently have nowhere to go. I lived in Kiev, I had my base there, I trained there. And all my plans for the future were related to Kiev,” Tsurenko told TVP Sport.
“It was there that I wanted to start a family, live and work on the development of Ukrainian tennis. We can even organize some tournaments in Ukraine. And now everything has changed. I’m looking for a place to stay for the next three to six months. I want to be sure that I can train. Anyway, I just care about a place where I feel at home, leave my things. And I think about it especially in the context of the tournaments in Europe, Wimbledon.”
Explaining that her sister had also fled Kyiv, the current world No 135 said her mother did not want to leave her home as she continued: “My mother lives in the south, near the nuclear power plant. I don’t want to leave there. She feels like she should stay, and it’s clear it’s not safe there. There are quite a few Russian troops in the south. My mother owes her security to the southern troops, which defend themselves in an unusual way. In turn, my sister and my husband fled Kiev. Now they are in the central part of Ukraine, in Vinnitsa. It sure is better. At least they can both work.”
Feeling as though the world had become used to the “bad news” of the war in Ukraine, the 32-year-old also shared the fear her mother was living in by remaining in Ukraine. “In the first days, the topic is lively, strong, and then you start to get used to the bad news. My mum told me she can’t stand the bomb alarms anymore. They tease her so much. The world may get used to it, but the Ukrainians are not. It’s getting more and more painful. I just feel like I want it to be over. I want a normal life, no problems, no challenges that I and other people face. I feel mercilessly exhausted by all this, and at the same time very pissed off. I don’t want these emotions anymore.”
Djokovic hits seven-year world No 1 milestone after Medvedev loss
Naomi Osaka fights tears after setting up Miami final vs Iga Swiatek
Tim Henman warns Novak Djokovic despite Daniil Medvedev defeat
Tsurenko also shared her disappointment at the reaction from the tennis world, saying only one Russian and one Belarusian tennis player had reached out to her. “Personally, there was only one reaction from the Russian competitor. And one more Belarusian,” she said. “I have no idea what they think or what they know. I think some of them even tried to ignore me. I was sad that only two of them came and talked about this situation. I think they don’t understand or don’t want to understand what’s going on. I will repeat myself. It is painful for me and for all Ukrainians.”
And the Vladimirec-born player slammed the use of the “no war please” message that several players had been circulating, with the likes of Russian ATP world No 7 Andrey Rublev going viral when he wrote the sentiment on the camera at the recent Dubai Championships. Explaining why she thought it was the wrong message, Tsurenko concluded: “For me, generally for Ukrainians, it would be fairer if this message was “stop Russian aggression”. In my opinion it is too late to say “not for war”. It continues, many cities have been completely ruined, many people have died and I am afraid there will be many more. Of course, I would prefer them to take up this topic, raise it publicly on social media, talk to me, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I don’t know if this will change or if anything in their thinking will change.”