Daria Kasatkina returns a shot from Shelby Rogers in the singles final at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic. (Carmen Mandato/Getty)
Russia’s top tennis player Daria Kasatkina proudly told reporters that she took “the right step” in coming out as gay last month.
The tennis pro emphasized her happiness at coming out of a WTA tour press conference in San Jose, as reported by TennisWorld.
“I think I have taken the right step,” she said. “With the situation in the world, all this stuff is tough. It was only good for me, but I also helped other people.
“It’s great and I feel great. I’m not 18 anymore, I’m 25. I have to show everything I have in these years. I think this is already the time to give more than to take,” she added.
Kasatkina came out as gay in an hour-long YouTube video by vlogger Vitya Kravchenko posted on 18 July. She explained that “living in the closet is impossible” and outlined her struggles with accepting her own sexuality.
“Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f**k everyone else,” she said.
Kasatkina then posted a photo on her Instagram of her and pair skater Natalia Zabiiako with a purple heart in the caption. Zabiiako did the same on her own page, this time with a yellow heart.
Tennis commentator Victoria Chiesa was among those to voice their support for Kasatkinain a tweet reading: “Living her truth even at such great personal risk. Saying I respect her for this would be downplaying it.”
On Sunday (7 August), Daria Kasatkina won her first title since coming out, becoming singles champion at the 2022 Silicon Valley Classic.
She beat America’s Shelby Rogers with a score of 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 6-2.
After the win, Kasatkina praised her team’s support.
“Thank you for always supporting me, and sometimes arguing with me but just to help me – I love you guys,” she told BBC Sports
Her victory was enough for her to enter the world’s top 10 players, coming in at a career high of number nine.
Despite missing Wimbledon this year due to the ban on Russian players, Kasatkina made the semi-finals during the French Open.
While showing everyone how it’s done on the tennis court, Kasatkina is also a staunch advocate for social justice, especially in her home country where it is highly stigmatized to be openly gay.
During her interview with vlogger Kravchenko, Kasatkina said she would “never” hold her girlfriend’s hand in public, saying that it will likely “never be OK” to do so in Russia.
“This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming one is ridiculous,” she added.
“I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight. Seriously, if there is a choice, no one would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point? It is important to talk about these things. It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”
Russia, which already has incredibly strict laws on LGBTQ+ rights, is planning to extend its “gay propaganda” law to adults at some point this year after State Duma’s information committee chairman Alexander Khinshtein said the current law was “insufficient”.
The legislation is used to restrict LGBTQ+ literature from reaching children. It will be extended to people of all ages if the policy change is fully enforced.
“We propose to fully extend the ban on that sort of propaganda among audiences of all ages (offline, media outlets, the internet, social media, as well as in cinema theatres),” Khinshtein wrote on Telegram.