“We are worried; politics is politics”: Russian tennis player Anna Kalinskaya

Zapopan.- Despite being more than 10,000 kilometers away from home, tennis player Anna Kalinskaya (Moscow, December 2, 1998) cannot help feeling affected by the war between Russia and Ukraine during her participation in the Zapopan Open 2022. A bit of relief came to her on Friday afternoon as she qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament, but that doesn’t quite erase the worry from her face.

“I try to be positive. It is not easy, but I am here and I love to compete, I work hard and I just try to forget what is happening at least in the time that I am on the court”, Kalinskaya mentioned in a press conference at the end of her quarterfinal match. end.

The 23-year-old Muscovite achieved her third victory at the Zapopan Open 2022 by knocking out one of the fans’ darlings, Colombian Camila Osorio, by partials of 6-4 and 6-1, in a match that lasted an hour with 20 minutes. In this way, she continues to increase her best participation in this tournament, since in the 2021 edition she was eliminated in the first round against Leylah Fernández.

However, Kalinskaya does not consider that her good performance in Zapopan could be an incentive to soften the situation in her country, since it indicates that there is a difference between what happens in the political environment and in sports.

“I’m not sure (if the victories) are going to help in this, because I think that politics is politics and sport is sport. I don’t want to be too involved in the situation, I made some posts on my social networks, but I don’t think I can help much in this personally, unfortunately,” the tennis player analyzed for El Economista.

The conflict has affected her personally since she has Ukrainian roots on her mother’s side and also multiple friends of that nationality, such as fellow tennis player Dayana Yastremska, who revealed on her social networks that she survived the Russian invasion in an underground facility for two nights. Ukraine.

“Everything that is happening is very sad, it is terrible to see so many people suffering, I am half Ukrainian, not many people know that my mother is Ukrainian and I still have family there, so this is very sad, many Russian people do not want a war, let’s hope this ends soon, we just want peace.”

Kalinskaya is currently the seventh highest ranked Russian player in the world. Her nationality stands out on the WTA list with seven players in the top 100, since she is precisely number 100. To keep up the pace in the Guadalajara tournament, she mentions that she tries to spend time away from her cell phone and social networks, especially as a result of the conflict in his country.

“For me it is impossible not to be on the phone and watch the news because I talk to my parents every day and we keep in touch because, as I said, I still have family there (in Ukraine). I am worried, people are worried about what is going to happen, before my game I do try to put my phone away from me for a period.

The Russian made her debut on the top circuit in 2016 but has yet to win a singles title on the WTA Tour (she has seven IFT titles and three doubles titles on the WTA). She even so, she accumulates experience in 20 Grand Slams. In Zapopan she lives her first semifinals since the Citi Open in Washington (level 250) in August 2019.

Installed among the best four of the Jalisco tournament, where she will face the winner of the series between Sloane Stephens and Daria Saville, Kalinskaya highlighted the level that Russian tennis is experiencing today, largely driven by the performance of the men’s branch , like his compatriot Daniil Medvedev, who rose to first place in the ATP ranking after two years of Novak Djokovic’s hegemony.

“I think we have a lot of very good players, I am very proud of each player, he is very good and very inspiring for the kids. I was in Moscow recently and I saw that a lot of kids want to play tennis, especially because of what the kids are doing, like Medvedev, (Andrey) Rublev and Karen Khachanov, I also saw a lot of fans thanks to them, thanks to their high level now we have more popularity in Russian tennis and sport,” Anna told this newspaper.

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