Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina revealed her unique motivation for success at Wimbledon, claiming she will use the prize money to help rebuild her parents’ home after it was bombed in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Kalinina’s parents are currently staying at her apartment while their current home in Irpin is rebuilt after being severely damaged at the start of the war.
“Their house was attacked. There are huge holes in the house,” she said.
“There are no apartments anymore. So now this home is getting rebuilt, so they can’t live there. They live in my apartment where I’m living with my husband.
“Now they are at home safe, they have everything. I’m grateful that they have the opportunities to live, and I am playing tennis.”
The 25-year-old has already earned £78,000 following a 4-6 6-2 6-4 win over Anna Bondar in their first-round clash on Monday.
She is now preparing for a second-round match against compatriot Lesia Tsurenko, and will pick up £120,000 with another victory.
“It’s hard to focus, but for me it matters if I win or if I lose. I’m helping my grandmother and grandfather, who are in occupied territory now,” she added.
“The more I win, I’m helping other families and other people. It’s a privilege to play here, it’s a privilege to play every tournament. If you go further, you earn more money. For me, that matters.
“I’m not a superstar so I’m helping with what I can. And it’s a lot to them, and for me that’s huge motivation to play.”
“I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner, who has won six Wimbledon titles, told reporters at the ATP 250 tournament.
“I know how much emotional trauma it leaves. In Serbia we all know what happened in 1999. In the Balkans we have had many wars in recent history.
“However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good.”
It is the first time that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from an elite tennis event, with the ATP, WTA and ITF tournaments allowing athletes from those countries to participate, albeit in a neutral capacity without displaying their national flag or having their national anthem played.
However, the ITF has banned Russia and Belarus from taking part in the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, where players represent their respective countries in those competitions.
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