Russian’s No. 1 female tennis player Daria Kasatkina has come out as gay, stating in a video that “living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters”.
Kasatkina is the world No. 12, and reached this year’s French Open semi-finals - her best-ever run at a Grand Slam.
In a video with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, filmed in Barcelona, she confirmed she was in a relationship with figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.
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Kasatkina went on to post a photo with Zabiiako on her Instagram page after speaking out against Russia’s restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights.
The 25-year-old said: “So many subjects are taboo in Russia. This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming [gay] is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight.
“Seriously, if there is a choice, no one would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?”
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Russia currently has a “gay propaganda” law, in place since 2013, and lawmakers are reportedly looking to extend the ban which can be used to stop gay pride marches and detain LGBTQ+ rights activists.
Kasatkina said she may “never” be able to hold Zabiiako’s hand in Russia, and also said she was inspired by Russian footballer Nadya Karpova, who came out last month.
“Living in the closet is impossible. It is too hard, it is pointless. Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f*** everyone else,” Kasatkina added.
“Not only did Nadya help herself by coming out and get this burden off her chest, she has also helped others.
“I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, speak about it. It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”
Kasatkina also spoke out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “complete nightmare” and “for the war to end”.
She was unable to play at Wimbledon recently after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the Grand Slam due to the war in Ukraine.
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