Varvara Gracheva, the Russian second seed at the Chennai Open, reflects on reaching her highest WTA ranking of 59 this July, saying, "What was the point, I never got to play Wimbledon."
As a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the All England Tennis Club, in April, banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in Wimbledon. Several other sporting bodies have taken the same position.
"Nobody wins or loses a war," says 22-year-old Gracheva, who beat compatriot Mariia Tkacheva in straight sets in the opening round of the WTA250 tournament.
Gracheva, who has trained in Europe since the early days of her career, declines to comment on the issue, saying that it takes away focus from the whole tournament.
"It was difficult (not being able to play), but I had to stay really calm, while everyone else kept reacting to the situation, on tour."
However, she was glad that Wimbledon had no points to offer this year since the WTA and ATP, the governing bodies for the women's and men's tour, decided to remove points in order to not discriminate against players from the two countries.
"The removal of points helped me maintain my rank and play other tournaments," Grachevais trying to secure as many points as she can in Chennai, which is one of the only tournaments happening in Asia around this time, giving players no other option but to go back west after this tournament to play more.