(Indian Wells) Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko, who withdrew from Indian Wells before facing Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, claimed on Monday that she suffered a “panic attack” after a conversation with the WTA boss about the consequences of the war in his country.

“The reason for my withdrawal was a panic attack,” the Ukrainian told Ukrainian site Big Tennis, “officially it was for ‘personal reasons’, but in reality I was having trouble breathing. We can talk about hysteria.”

“A few days ago I had a conversation with WTA CEO Steve Simon,” Tsurenko said, “and I was absolutely shocked by what I heard. He told me that he himself was against the war, but if Russian or Belarusian players supported it, it was their own opinion, and that the opinion of others should not bother me.

The player adds that she and several of her fellow Women’s Tour compatriots requested a meeting with the Women’s Tour Board of Directors, “to ask how someone like Steve Simon could be a top WTA executive.”

The WTA responded in a statement on Monday: “Above all, we recognize the emotion of Lesia and all of our Ukrainian athletes […] we are witnessing a horrific war, with profound consequences, which affects the whole world, as much than the WTA Tour and its members”.

“The WTA has consistently expressed its full support for Ukraine and strongly condemns the actions of the Russian government,” the statement continued, however: based on their merits and without any form of discrimination, without being penalized by the decisions taken by the leaders of their countries”.

More than a year after the Russian attack, with the support of Belarus, tennis is still struggling to manage the situation in its tournaments. The Russian and Belarusian athletes compete under a neutral flag, but the chance of the tables can very well oppose them to Ukrainians or Ukrainians.

In early March, British newspapers claimed that the Wimbledon tournament, which banned Russians and Belarusians last year, is considering reversing its decision and accepting them this summer.