Marta Kostyuk has declared that she will not be participating in the charity event organized by the US Open to contribute to the rehabilitation efforts in Ukraine.
The exhibition event, involving the likes of Rafael Nadal, Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and others, is scheduled to take place one week before the New York Major to raise funds for those affected by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Kostyuk, Ukraine's No. 3 ranked player, was also one of the parties who received an invitation for the exhibition, but speaking to BTU Portal, the World No. 74 revealed that she turned it down solely because a few Russian/Belarusian players were also due to participate.
"Of course, I received an invitation. I think all our players got them. When Lesya Tsurenko and I found out - I'm only talking about us now, because we didn't ask anyone - so when we found out that there would be representatives of Russia or Belarus at this event, I immediately said that I will not participate in this," Marta Kostyuk said.
The 20-year-old was fuming that no one asked the Ukrainians if they were okay with the presence of Russians and Belarusians, adding that the concerned authorities should have consulted with them beforehand as a common courtesy.
"First of all, no one asked the Ukrainian athletes if they wanted any of these players to be present. Of course, no one is interested in this, it is the Independence Day of Ukraine, but what Ukrainians think is not interesting, is it?" she added.
Kostyuk was particularly irked by the presence of Victoria Azarenka, mainly because Azarenka offered no help to her and other Ukrainians despite her presence on the WTA player's council.
Noting how the Belarusian had discussed the topic with Gael Monfils and Sergiy Stakhovsky, the former World No. 49 wondered if Azarenka did not think she was important enough to talk with simply because of her world ranking. Either way, Marta Kostyuk was of the opinion that she should have been consulted with, especially since she had been one of the most vocal voices against the war.
"Secondly, I did not understand the reason why they called Victoria Azarenka. There was no open help from her in our direction. She did not communicate with me, but I know that she communicated with Serhiy Stakhovsky, with Gael Monfils in Madrid," Kostyuk said.
"There was no dialogue with me personally, although it cannot be said that I was invisible. Maybe I'm not that visible because I'm not ranked high enough to be talked to, but that's not what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the fact that I've been active enough since the beginning of the war," she added.
If Azarenka had no desire to talk with people like her, the Ukrainian wondered why she was even willing to come to the event. Compounded by the fact that the former World No. 1 did not even have a good relationship with other Ukrainians, the World No. 74 could not wrap her head around why she should be invited to the event at all.
"I was one of the people who commented the most on the war, who also openly supported the banning of players and that this is not acceptable at all, what is happening," Marta Kostyuk said. "And although I was one of the most active in my statements, she had no contact with me. There was probably no desire to talk either."
"So I don't understand why she's called, I can't understand why she's even going to do this. Knowing what kind of relationship she has with all of us. It didn't happen that she met with all of us and said, they say, girls and boys, here's 10 thousand for you, please, you know who needs to be helped. It wasn't close to that. She has no personal good relations with us," she added.
"She knows from our words how we cannot tolerate them here, how we want them not to be at any tournament, like in England; despite this, she goes for it" - Marta Kostyuk on Victoria Azarenka
Marta Kostyuk went on to register her disbelief at Victoria Azarenka's participation in the charity event, stating that she could not understand how she was okay with playing despite fully knowing that the Ukrainians did not want her and other Russians at any tournament.
"I don't understand how human it really is. Why does she do it and why does she go for it," Marta Kostyuk said. "Purely human, because she knows from our words how we cannot tolerate them here, how we want them not to be at any tournament, like in England. Despite this, she goes for it."
The 20-year-old wondered why Azarenka could not simply decline to participate and avoid provoking her and her compatriots further. Although Kostyuk admitted that she was too emotional about all this, she remarked that even after sitting with the issue and thinking about it in detail, it was hard for her to understand the decisions that led to this debacle.
"She doesn't even communicate with us, but here she just takes and does. I can't understand why? Why can't he tell the Turs that, listen, the Ukrainians are really against it, let me not annoy them even more, I will not provoke them. Why can't you say that? I say this emotionally, of course," Marta Kostyuk said. "But we sit, talk about it and we simply do not understand what is happening."