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Daria Kasatkina, Russia’s highest-ranked female tennis player, comes out as gay

Tennis' world number 12 has said living in the closet was "impossible".

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Wiki Commons

Russia’s number 1 tennis player, Daria Kasatkina, has come out and used the announcement to call out archaic Russian attitudes.

The 25-year-old tennis pro revealed she’s in a relationship with a woman and found “living in the closet” impossible, in an interview with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko posted Monday (18 July).

The athlete also spoke out against the strict attitudes against homosexuality in Russia and the restrictions on life as an LGBTQ+ person when living in the country. 

Kasatkina, who does not currently reside in Russia, also shared a photo on Instagram of her girlfriend, Russian-Estonian figure skater Natalia Zabiiako, following her coming out announcement.

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A post shared by Daria Kasatkina🐬 (@kasatkina)

“So many subjects are taboo in Russia,” Kasatkina said. “This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming [gay] is ridiculous. I think there’s nothing easier in this world than being straight.”

“Living in the closet is impossible. It is too hard, it is pointless,” she added. 

Russia’s existing 2013 ‘gay propaganda’ law means that anything regarded as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors is banned and could incur a fine.

Lawmakers are proposing an extension to this law to apply to adults, effectively pushing LGBTQ+ existence to the fringes of society and further solidifying the law’s ability to prevent Pride marches and detain LGBTQ+ activists.

“When will it be ok to hold hands in public in Russia?” Kravchenko asks. Kasatkina responds: “Judging by [how] things are going now, it will never be ok.”

“Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f*** everyone else,” she declares, before pulling in Kravchenko for a hug.

Kasatkina also cited Russian footballer Nadya Karpova as an inspiration to young sports people with Karpova’s coming out last month helping pave the way for future athletes. 

“I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, speak about it,” Kasatkina remarked. “It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”

The current world No 12 also addressed the ongoing war in Ukraine, describing the conflict as a “complete nightmare” and that her biggest wish is “for the war to end”.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.