Russian tennis star Daria Kasatkina has come out in a video interview on Monday, telling Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko that she is dating a woman.
In the interview, Kasatkina admitted that living closeted would not be possible for her in the long-term, ESPN reports. “There is no point, it would always be going around in your head, until you say something,” she said. “Obviously, each person decides how to open up and how much.”
Kasatkina’s comments come following the Russian parliament’s move to tighten restrictions on the country’s 2013 anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, which prevented the distribution of “gay propaganda” to minors, and which has since become a precursor for similar legislation in other countries, including Hungary. The new restrictions would further ban LGBTQ+ content and discussions in public, and LGBTQ+ representation in cinemas.
Kasatkina expressed concerns about being out in her home country, saying that she would not be comfortable there holding her girlfriend’s hand in public. She also expressed concern that she would not be able to return to Russia – she lives and trains in Spain – following her comments.
“The notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming one is ridiculous,” she said. “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?”
She also spoke out against the war in Ukraine, which she called “a complete nightmare.”
Kasatkina later posted pictures of herself and her girlfriend, Russian figure skater Natalia Zabiiako, on social media. Zabiiako won silver at the 2022 Beijing Games.
View this post on Instagram
Kasatkina is currently ranked 12th in the world in women’s tennis. She is the top-ranked Russian women’s player.