Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Daria Kasatkina suffered a first-round exit at the Canadian Open

The media glare placed on Russian women's tennis number one Daria Kasatkina after she announced she was gay may have partly affected her as Kasatkina bowed out in the first round of the Canadian Open, according to Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev.

Kasatkina, 25, made headlines far beyond tennis circles in recent weeks after confirming in a YouTube interview that she was in a relationship with a woman, later revealed to be figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.

Kasatkina also suggested that she would consider swapping citizenship in the face of continued sporting bans imposed on Russia.

The media attention did not appear to deter Kasatkina as she won a first WTA title of the year at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose at the weekend, although that was followed by an early exit at the hands of Bianca Andreescu in Toronto on Tuesday.

Tarpischev claimed that some of the added attention placed on Kasatkina - as well as the hectic tournament schedule - may have played a part in her defeat.

"It's a pity that she'll leave her place in the WTA rankings, but I think she'll quickly pick up," said the Russian tennis boss to RBC Sport.

"Massive discussions and the hype around her and her statements recently regarding her personal life, and about citizenship, could well have affected her. Psychological stress.

"At the same time, it's just as hard to play tournament after tournament. The issue of rapid adaptation. It's nothing particularly terrible. There were a lot of strong opponents...

"It's not a sensation. But it's unexpected, of course, that [the exit was] so early, there was a chance to fight," Tarpischev added.

Speaking to TASS, Tarpischev noted that former US Open champion Andreescu has been an awkward opponent for Kasatkina, with the Canadian now boasting a 3-0 head-to-head record against her Russian rival.

Kasatkina's run of form in recent months, which included a career-best Grand Slam journey to the semifinals of the French Open, has seen her rise to the number nine spot in the WTA ratings.

The main target for Kasatkina and her fellow professionals will be the US Open in New York at the end of the month.

Kasatkina's best run at Flushing Meadows thus far in her career was in 2017, when she reached the fourth round.


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