Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality As Native Russia Eye Tightening Anti-LGBT Laws - UBITENNIS
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Daria Kasatkina Opens Up About Her Sexuality As Native Russia Eye Tightening Anti-LGBT Laws

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Daria Kasatkina has become one of the very few Russian athletes to speak publicly about their sexuality during a Youtube interview with blogger Vitya Kravchenko in Spain. 

 

The world No.12 has previously spoken about being bisexual but until now had not spoken any further about her personal life. Kasatkina has confirmed that she is in a relationship with another woman and posted a photo of them both shortly after the video was published. Her girlfriend is figure skater Natalia Zabiiako who won a silver medal in the team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics representing Russia but has since switched her allegiance to Canada. 

Kasatkina spoke about her personal life after praising Russian footballer Nadezhda Karpova who has recently come out as gay. The 25-year-old said the decision by Karpova is a move she believes will help others, especially those who may not be open about their sexuality for whatever reason. 

I was happy for her, but also for other people, especially girls who need to know that. It has empowered them for sure,” she said. 
“Not only did Nadya help herself by coming clean and getting this burden off her chest, but she helped others.’
“It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support. I think that it is very important that influential people from sport, or any other sphere really, speak about it. It helps.”

Continuing his interview, Kravchenko then asked the tennis star if she was happy to speak out about her sexuality. 

“I’m a little nervous, because I’ve never been so open on camera,” said Kasatkina, adding “but in general, I’m pretty cool.”

Kasatkina is currently based in Spain which is a country ranked as the 10th best in the region for LGBT rights according to research conducted by the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. In contrast, Russia is ranked 46th with only Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan having a lower score than them. 

“There are so many taboo topics in our country. And there are more important topics that are forbidden, so there is nothing to be surprised at,” Kasatkina replied when asked about the LGBT community in Russia. 
“There’s this phrase, ‘if you want to be gay’. If you want to or not, if you become it or not. What kind of nonsense is this? 
“Really, it seems to me there’s nothing easier in the world than to be straight. Given a choice, who would choose to be gay and make life difficult for yourself? Seriously. Especially in Russia.”

The bigger picture 

A player coming out may not seem like a massive issue in Western Europe but in Kasatkina’s home country it is a completely different scenario. On the same day as Kasatkina’s video was published, lawmakers in Russia tabled a motion calling for a tightening of their anti-LGBT laws. The country already has in place a law that prohibits the display of what they call “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships” toward minors. Now some want to introduce a policy where any information deemed “LGBT propaganda” by Russian authorities can be banned. 

In its explanatory note published on the lower-house State Duma website, it says “Public approval and recognition of such relationships are dangerous not only for children and young people… but for the whole society.’ It also confirmed that should this act come into law, authorities would be allowed to ban websites from showing LGBT relationships. 

Given the current climate, it is unsurprising that Kasatkina says that it will likely ‘never’ be ok for same-sex couples to hold their hands in public in Russia. Although some regions in the country are more tolerant than others. 

“We had some tendencies not so long ago – approximately when the [2018 football] World Cup as. Then, ‘the road’s closed for repairs.’ She spoke of attitudes towards LGBT people in Russia.
“Living in the closet, as they say, for a long time is difficult and doesn’t make sense. It will be stuck in your head until you say it. It is clear that everyone chooses how to open up and how much. You have to be comfortable with yourself, that’s the most important thing.” Kasatkina added.

The reaction 

Tennis figures within what is a largely conservative Russia have expressed their support to Kasatkina after formally coming out about her relationship. Andrei Chesnokov is a former top 10 player who reached the semi-finals of the French Open during the 1980s. 

“My position is very ordinary – this is her choice and her own business. I don’t even want to get involved. I support Dasha. Every person has the right to privacy. She’s a normal girl, she doesn’t kill anyone. Dasha lives her wonderful life. Kasatkina is a wonderful person and it is a pleasure to communicate with her. Dasha is also a great tennis player.” He told Sport 24

Former world No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov also told Sport 24 that Kasatkina’s coming out ‘won’t affect his relationship with her’ in any way. 

Speaking to Match TV, Kasatkina’s agent Sofya Tartakova said her announcement should have no impact on her career and called her an inspiration to others.

“How can this interfere with a career? Does it bother you that you love someone, love, in principle, can interfere with someone? Regardless of what gender she is. Should we be afraid of the reaction of the Russian public? I think our audience needs to develop both spiritually and mentally. Thank God that there are players like Daria Kasatkina, who is not afraid and talks about herself very sincerely and humanly. It is difficult to be a human being, but it is possible even while living in Russia,” She said

Unfortunately, not everybody has been as supportive of Kasatkina with one politician going as far as calling her a ‘bad role model.’ Something which Margaret Court once said about Martina Navratilova’s sexuality more than 40 years ago. Roman Teryushkov is a member of the State Duma which is the lower house of the Russian parliament. 

“Honestly, it is difficult for me to comment on such statements. We are Russian people! We have traditional, cultural, moral values ​​that we pass on from generation to generation,” he commented.
Everything that comes to us from the West, I hope, will soon be eradicated. My colleagues in the State Duma have just prepared a draft law banning the propaganda” of same-sex relationships. In Russia, this should by no means be supported and encouraged! We need to eradicate this and live with our culture.
It is impossible to approve the act of Daria in any way! Our athletes have always, starting with Soviet Russia, been idols to follow. And Kasatkina is not the best role model.”

Although Teryushkov’s words will not concern Kasatkina if she sticks to the philosophy she mentioned in her interview…. 

Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f**k everyone else.

Daria Kasatkina

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Jelena Ostapenko overcomes Danielle Collins in a thrilling match in Abu Dhabi

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Number 5 seed Jelena Ostapenko battled past Danielle Collins 7-5 1-6 7-5 in 2 hours and 16 minutes in a rollercoaster match to advance to the second round at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. 

 

Ostapenko has extended her winning streak to six consecutive matches on Emirati soil. The Latvian player clinched her fifth WTA Tour title in Dubai in February 2022. 

The 2017 Roland Garros champion beat Collins for the second time in as many meetings after beating Collins 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 in the 2018 Milami semifinals.

Ostapenko continued her good period of form after reaching the quarter finals at the Australian Open. She will face a second round against either Zheng Quinwen or qualifier Rebecca Marino. 

Collins earned her first break with a return winner to take a 4-3 lead, but she made a double fault, as she was a break point down when she serving for the set. Ostapenko reeled off four consecutive games to seal the first set 7-5. 

Collins bounced back in the second set by earning a double break with three consecutive return winners to seal the second set 6-1 forcing the match to the third set. 

Ostapenko converted her fifth break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Collins pulled back on serve in the eighth game after three double faults from Ostapenko to draw level to 4-4. Ostapenko won 12 of the last 15 points to close out the third set 7-5. 

“Danielle is a great player. It’s always a tough match against her because she plays really well and she’s such a fighter. The match is never over until we shake hands. I am really glad that, even I did not play  my best tennis, I was fighting and I managed to win the match. These kind of matches give confidence”, said Ostapenko. 

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Davis Cup Round-Up: Who Has Qualified For The Finals Group Stage?

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MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 05: Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2021 at Madrid Arena on December 05, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos / Quality Sport Images / Kosmos Tennis)

Over the weekend 12 ties took place around the world to decide which countries would qualify for the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage later this year.

Borna Coric, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stan Wawrinka and Cameron Norrie were among those who participated in the historic team competition which began in 1900. There were plenty of highs and lows with some teams rewriting the history books for their countries.

Perhaps the biggest shock occurred at the Espoo Metro Arena where Finland stunned four-time champions Argentina 3-1. Home favorite Emil Ruusuvuori guided his team to victory by winning both of his singles matches in straight sets, as well as the doubles alongside Harri Heliovaara. It is the first time the Scandinavian country has qualified for the Finals stage.

 

History was also made in the South Korean capital of Seoul where the home nation came back from a 0-2 deficit to win a tie for the first time. Taking on Belgium, Korea fell behind after losing to David Goffin and Zizou Bergs on the opening day. However, they turned their fortunes around with a three-match winning streak to become the only Asian team to reach the final playoffs this year.

In one of the most anticipated clashes, Wawrinka guided Switzerland to a thrilling 3-2 win over Germany. The three-time Grand Slam champion endured a roller-coaster run after losing to Zverev in his opening match and then in the doubles alongside teammate Dominic Stricker. However, he clinched the decisive point for his team by defeating Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. Switzerland’s other two points were earned by Marc-Andrea Huesler who defeated Zverev and Oscar Otte.

There was also a close battle between France and Hungary. Tied at 2-2, Ugo Humbert sealed victory for his country by defeating Fabian Marozsan 6-3, 6-3. France has won the Davis Cup 10 times and was runner-up on nine other occasions.

Great Britain prevailed on the South American clay by defeating Colombia 3-1. After Dan Evans lost his opening match against Nicolas Mejia, the Brits bounced back with the help of two wins by Norrie and a crucial victory in the doubles. In the doubles match Evans and Neal Skupski stunned former world No.1 players Juan-Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. 

Also through to the finals are America, Serbia and the Netherlands who all won their ties 4-0. Meanwhile, Sweden, Croatia and the Czech Republic all won 3-1.

The 12 winning countries will join Canada, Australia, Italy and Spain in the playoffs for the finals in September. The Group Stage will be held at four different venues from 12 to 17 September. The eight best teams will then progress to the finals in Malaga which will be held from 21 to 26 November.

Full results

CROATIA defeated AUSTRIA 3-1
Borna Coric (CRO) d. Dennis Novak (AUT) 6-3 7-5
Borna Gojo (CRO) d. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 6-3 7-6(2)
Alexander Erler/Lucas Miedler (AUT) d. Ivan Dodig/Nikola Mektic (CRO) 6-3 7-6(11)
Borna Coric (CRO) d. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 7-6(3) 6-2

FRANCE defeated HUNGARY 3-2
Zsombor Piros (HUN) d. Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) 7-6(4) 6-3
Ugo Humbert (FRA) d. Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 6-3 6-2
Fabian Marozsan/Mate Valkusz (HUN) d. Nicolas Mahut/Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 6-2 7-6(4)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) d. Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 7-6(6) 6-2
Ugo Humbert (FRA) d. Fabian Marozsan (HUN) 6-3 6-3

USA defeated UZBEKISTAN 4-0
Mackenzie Mcdonald (USA) d. Sergey Fomin (UZB) 64 61
Tommy Paul (USA) d. Khumoyun Sultanov (UZB) 61 76(6)
Austin Krajicek/Rajeev Ram (USA) d. Sanjar Fayziev/Sergey Fomin (UZB) 6-2 6-4
Denis Kudla (USA) d. Amir Milushev (UZB) 6-4 6-4

SWITZERLAND defeated GERMANY 3-2
Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) d. Oscar Otte (GER) 2-6 6-2 6-4
Alexander Zverev (GER) d. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-4 6-1
Andreas Mies/Tim Puetz (GER) d. Dominic Stricker/Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4
Marc-Andrea Huesler (SUI) d. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6-2 7-6(4)
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) d. Daniel Altmaier (GER) 6-3 5-7 6-4

GREAT BRITAIN defeated COLOMBIA 3-1
Nicolas Mejia (COL) d. Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-2 2-6 6-4
Cameron Norrie (GBR) d. Nicolas Barrientos (COL) 6-2 7-5
Daniel Evans/Neal Skupski (GBR) d. Juan-Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah (COL) 6-4 6-4
Cameron Norrie (GBR) d. Nicolas Mejia (COL) 6-4 6-4

SERBIA defeated NORWAY 4-0
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB) d. Andreja Petrovic (NOR) 6-1 6-3
Laslo Djere (SRB) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 6-3 4-6 7-6(8)
Nikola Cacic/Filip Krajinovic (SRB) d. Viktor Durasovic/Herman Hoeyeraal (NOR) 6-4 3-6 6-3
Hamad Medjedovic (SRB) d. Viktor Durasovic (NOR) 6-4 6-7(4) [10-4

CHILE defeated KAZAKHSTAN 3-1
Timofei Skatov (KAZ) d. Cristian Garin (CHI) 6-1 6-3
Nicolas Jarry (CHI) d. Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-2 6-2
Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera/Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) d. Andrey Golubev/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ) 6-4 7-5
Cristian Garin (CHI) d. Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 6-4 3-6 6-3

KOREA, REP. defeated BELGIUM 3-2
Zizou Bergs (BEL) d. Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) 1-6 6-4 7-6(6)
David Goffin (BEL) d. Hong Seong Chan (KOR) 6-4 6-2
Nam Jisung/Song Min-kyu (KOR) d. Sander Gille/Joran Vliegen (BEL) 7-6(3) 7-6(5)
Soonwoo Kwon (KOR) d. David Goffin (BEL) 3-6 6-1 6-3
Hong Seong Chan (KOR) d. Zizou Bergs (BEL) 6-3 7-6(4)

SWEDEN defeated BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 3-1
Mikael Ymer (SWE) d. Mirza Basic (BIH) 6-4 7-5
Elias Ymer (SWE) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1 6-4
Mirza Basic/Tomislav Brkic (BIH) d. Andre Goransson/Elias Ymer (SWE) 6-4 6-2
Mikael Ymer (SWE) d. Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1 1-6 6-3

NETHERLANDS defeated SLOVAKIA 4-0
Tallon Griekspoor (NED) d. Lukas Klein (SVK) 7-6(6) 2-6 6-4
Tim Van Rijthoven (NED) d. Alex Molcan (SVK) 7-6(6) 5-7 6-3
Wesley Koolhof/Matwe Middelkoop (NED) d. Lukas Klein/Alex Molcan (SVK) 6-3 6-3
Matwe Middelkoop (NED) d. Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-4 6-4

FINLAND defeated ARGENTINA 3-1
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) d. Pedro Cachin (ARG) 7-5 6-3
Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) d. Otto Virtanen (FIN) 6-3 3-6 7-6(3)
Harri Heliovaara/Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) d. Maximo Gonzalez/Andres Molteni (ARG) 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) d. Facundo Bagnis (ARG) 7-5 6-1

CZECH REPUBLIC defeated PORTUGAL 3-1
Jiri Lehecka (CZE) d. Nuno Borges (POR) 6-4 6-4
Tomas Machac (CZE) d. Joao Sousa (POR) 7-6(6) 3-6 6-2
Nuno Borges/Francisco Cabral (POR) d. Tomas Machac/Adam Pavlasek (CZE) 7-5 7-6(4)
Joao Sousa (POR) v Jiri Lehecka (CZE) 6-4 6-1

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Alycia Parks Stuns Garcia To Win First Tour Title In Lyon

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Image via WTA Twitter

Rising star Alycia Parks is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time after stunning world No.4 Caroline Garcia in straight sets to win the Lyon Open. 

 

22-year-old Parks, who contested just three WTA main draws last year, battled to a 7-6(7), 7-5, win over Garcia who is the first top-five player she has beaten on the Tour. Throughout the final, the American didn’t drop serve after saving all four break points she faced. In total, she produced 28 winners with 15 of those being aces. It is only the second time she has beaten a top 10 player on the Tour after Maria Sakkari at the Ostrava Open last year. 

“I want to thank you for all coming out, this title means a lot to me,” Parks said afterwards. “France has a special part in my heart right now. I want to congratulate Garcia, you had an amazing week, keep playing how you’re playing.”

The victory caps off what has been a breakthrough week for Parks who dropped two sets in five matches played which was in her opening two rounds. Earlier in the tournament, she also defeated seventh seed Danka Kovinic and fourth seed Petra Martic to become only the third unseeded player to win a WTA event so far this year.  

Parks was ranked 199th in the world 12 months ago but has climbed up the rankings and is now set to break into the world’s top 70 for the first time on Monday. Towards the end of last year, she won back-to-back WTA 125 tournaments and has now won 16 out of her last 17 matches played. Her only loss was to Czech teenager Sara Bejlek in the second round of qualifying at the Australian Open.

As for Garcia, Sunday’s clash was the first time she had contested a WTA final in her home city of Lyon. Coming into her clash with Parks, she had won 10 out of her last 11 finals played on the Tour. It is the 40th time in her career she has lost to an American player in a WTA main draw.

Congrats on an amazing week and the (past) couple of months have been unbelievable (for you),” said Garcia. “It’s your first WTA title today and it was well deserved. You played amazing and if you keep playing like this you are for sure going to keep going up (the rankings).”

Parks, who graduated from High School in 2019, is coached on the Tour by her father Michael who has been her main mentor since childhood. 

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