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"I don't think we should judge them, it's not easy to have your flag taken away from your name"- Simona Halep on Russian players being recognised as neutral athletes

Russian tennis players will not be playing under their national flag
Russian tennis players will not be playing under their national flag
Gauri Awasthi

Simona Halep recently expressed her solidarity with those affected by the ongoing military assault on Ukraine. In the same vein, she also sympathized with her Russian and Belarussian peers who are now required to compete as neutral athletes on the tour.

Last week, international tennis bodies such as the WTA, ATP and the ITF implemented a collective ruling in condemnation of the war against Ukraine by Russia and its allies. Russian and Belarussian players were subsequently stripped of their national allegiances and have since competed without their flags or any national symbols.

Its now official, no Russian or Belarussian flags https://t.co/r84G6gm7NV

In a recent media interaction, Simona Halep emphasized that it would be unfair for players from the two countries to receive flak for the actions of their governments.

"I don't think we should judge them, just because they are from the same country," the Romanian said. "It's hard for me to say anything. More will probably be decided in the next period, but they are not to blame. I feel sorry for the emotions they have right now. It's not easy to have your flag taken away from your name".

The two-time Grand Slam champion went on to convey her thoughts to Ukrainians and hoped for the conflict to end in the near future.

"Dramatic! It's something I never imagined would happen," Halep remarked." Poor people - those who are concerned - it is very difficult. I hope it ends as soon as possible and there are no more victims"

"I will have a coach from Patrick Mouratoglou's Academy in Indian Wells and Miami"- Simona Halep

The former World No.1 recently spent a week at Patrick Mouratoglou's tennis academy in France before leaving for the US. She will be in action at the WTA 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami later this week. Simona Halep described her time at the academy as "special" and revealed that she was happy with her week-long training sessions.

"A special experience. I felt good and it was a week full of training", the World No. 26 said.

The Romanian, who decided to part ways with her coaches after the 2022 Australian Open, revealed that she will be accompanied by a coach from the academy during her time in the States.

"Of course you can play without a coach, but in order to have maximum performance, from my point of view, you need someone by your side who can trust you and help you in difficult times," Halep said. "I think coaching is important in a team. Yes, it's a temporary thing. I will have a coach from the 'Patrick Mouratoglou' Academy in Indian Wells and Miami with me, and then we'll see."
This week I stepped into an academy for the first time. Lucky me that I came to the best one 😊Everyone at the @MouratoglouAcad puts their heart and soul into it every single day!Thanks to everyone for welcoming me in such a warm way. I felt like I had been here forever. https://t.co/iax2rTAeY2

Edited by Keshav Gopalan

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