Kasatkina comes out as gay in powerful interview as she calls for Russia to stop the war

·3-min read

Daria Kasatkina revealed she is in a gay relationship as Russia's leading star on the WTA Tour attacked homophobic attitudes in her homeland, and called for the war in Ukraine to end.

In an emotional interview with documentary maker Vitya Kravchenko, Kasatkina, who lives in Barcelona, teared up at the prospect of potentially being unable to return to Russia after being so candid.

The recent French Open semi-finalist has won four WTA titles in her career, including trophy runs at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and the St Petersburg Open.

She has spoken about matters of sexuality in the past, and when asked whether she has a girlfriend, Kasatkina said in the new documentary: "Yes."

On her social media accounts, Kasatkina confirmed she and Olympic figure skater Natalia Zabiiako, who she described as "my cutie pie", are a couple.

She knows LGBT matters are taboo in Russia, saying: "So many subjects are taboo in Russia, some of them more important than ours, it's no surprise.

"This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming one, so ridiculous I think. There's nothing easier in this world than being straight.

"Seriously, if there is a choice, nobody would choose being gay. Why make your life harder, especially in Russia? What's the point?"

Asked whether she would be able to hold hands with her girlfriend in Russia, Kasatkina said: "Never."

Assessing the process of coming out, the 25-year-old said: "It's up to you how to do it and how much to tell. Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, and f*** everyone else."

Few Russian sports stars have spoken out against the invasion of Ukraine, but Kasatkina made it clear that she feels strongly the war must stop.

Asked what she wanted most of all, Kasatkina said: "For the war to end. There hasn't been a single day since February 24 that I haven't read some news myself. Or haven't thought of it. [I want] for the day to just pass by without it.

"What people go through there, people that have relatives in Ukraine, especially when you start talking about Russia, Belgorod, here we go again. I can't imagine what they're going through, it's a full-blown nightmare.

"If only we could do something to stop that, even tiny percentage to stop. Not to change people's minds or something, only stop. Without a thought, I'd do anything, but unfortunately that's impossible and I think you understand it. We can't affect it. We can't change events that unfold. You feel powerless."

When she was asked by Kravchenko whether she was afraid she might not be allowed back to Russia because of her criticism, Kasatkina said: "Yes, I have thought about it."

She broke down in tears at that point.

Kasatkina has found support for coming out, with former doubles star Pam Shriver among those thanking her. She was also praised by Russian women's national team footballer Nadya Karpova, who has spoken about her own lesbian life and has also been a critic of the war.

Karpova posted on Instagram: "You are beautiful! I'm proud."

Kasatkina thanked Karpova in the YouTube documentary, saying: "Not only did Nadya help herself by coming clean and getting this burden off her chest, but she helped others.

"I believe it's important the influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, speaks about it. It helps."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting