BNP Paribas Open shows support for Ukrainian players as Russian war rages on
The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells is showing support for Ukraine amid Russia's ongoing invasion.
Up above Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the flag of Ukraine flies high. For Ukrainian players, this show of support is particularly meaningful as they continue to compete despite the ongoing conflict in their home country.
Ukrainian player Dayana Yastremska returned to the tournament this year after being eliminated last year just two weeks after escaping Russian attacks. "There is a bomb, there's shootings, there is rockets flying everywhere and it was very scary...We had to stay in the underground. I couldn't really practice and we didn't really sleep because the situation was really dangerous," she said.
Yastremska won her match on Wednesday and advanced to the next round.
Another Ukrainian player, Marta Kostyuk, claimed victory Sunday at the final at the ATX Open in Austin, Texas, against Russian player Varvara Gracheva.
Kostyuk refused to shake hands or pose for a photo with her opponent – dedicating the win to her country.
At the BNP, Russian and Belarusian players are not allowed to compete under their country's name or flag. Daniil Medvedev, one of the top-ranked men's singles players in the world, is among the affected players.
In a statement, the WTA, ATP, and ITF expressed their support for Ukraine and commended the tennis players who have spoken out against the conflict. "Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, and we echo their calls for the violence to end and peace to return," the statement read.