Darja Kassatkina is only the second female athlete in Russia to admit to being homosexual. Andrea Petkovic celebrates her opponent and praises her enthusiastically, after all, coming out as a Russian is anything but a matter of course.
When the conversation ended full of courage, vulnerability, tears and impressive strength, Darja Kassatkina fell into her interviewer's arms. "You asked me so many good questions," the top Russian tennis player told YouTuber Vitia Kravchenko. But it was the 25-year-old world number 12 herself who caused a sensation with her coming out and clear statements about her home country's war of aggression.
"Living at peace with yourself is the only thing that counts," said Kassatkina in the video, which is not only perceived in the tennis scene: "Locking yourself in is pointless." Yes, she has a friend with whom she happily presented herself on Instagram on Monday evening.
In times when Russia's President Vladimir Putin railed against his opponents with martial rhetoric and continued the bloody offensive in Ukraine undeterred, the French Open semi-finalist, who trains in Spain, shows with an openness that is not self-evident that she agrees with the views of the political leadership of her can do little at home.
Kassatkina also impressed Andrea Petkovic. "I found it incredibly brave and also incredibly cool, as she says to herself in the video. As if it were the most normal thing in the world. But that's not it if you're Russian and live in Russia," said the German Number two in Hamburg: "I saw it, I celebrated it and will continue to celebrate it."
Kassatkina criticized the prevailing homophobia in Russia and regretted that the subject was "banned" in her country. Being gay makes life "especially in Russia" more difficult. Russian LGBT people often face hostility and violence. Homosexuality was considered a crime in Russia until 1993 and a mental illness until 1999.
Kassatkina, who failed in the first round as the second-seeded player at Hamburg's Rothenbaum, also made a clear statement about what was happening in the Ukraine that her greatest wish was "that the war ends". She added that if she could make even the smallest contribution, she would do anything to end the "absolute nightmare".
(This article was first published on Tuesday, July 19, 2022.)