Instagram [@kasatkina]

Russia’s highest-ranked female tennis player Daria Kasatkina has shared that coming out “helped” her and that she is “happy with the outcome”.

The 25-year-old bravely came out in July and shared that she is dating Russian Olympic figure skater Natalia Zabiiako.

“Living in the closet is impossible,” the star told blogger Vitya Kravchenko.

“I believe it is important that influential people from sports, or any other sphere really, speak about it,” she continued. “It is important for young people who have a hard time with society and need support.”

She has since shared that, despite being “ready for some negative reaction”, there “was nothing like that.”

Speaking to The Guardian, she continued: “I’m very thankful because that makes me feel so good. Some of the players were coming to me, sometimes they’re still coming to me, to say ‘yeah, it’s cool’ or ‘congrats’ to me. That’s nice.”

“I felt less pressure”

When she first came out, Kasatkina condemned conservative attitudes in Russia, as well as the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Doing so “helped” her, she further explained: “I felt less pressure. I put this pressure out of my shoulders because when you have to think about tennis but also to think about some deep things inside your head, it’s just not good.

“I remember after saying all these things, I just felt much better. That was one of the best decisions of the last year and I’m happy with the outcome. And thanks to the people who were next to me supporting me.”

Kasatkina also reflected on the Russia-Ukraine war as it nears its one year anniversary.

“It’s very tough,” she stated. “And it’s been almost a year living in these circumstances. I want this to end as soon as possible, but unfortunately it’s not depending on us. They’re my friends and I want to show them love and support because it’s very tough. For them, it’s more difficult.”

“It’s difficult that I cannot see the people I love”

She also shared that not being able to see her loved ones in Russia often is incredibly difficult for her.

“For most people, it’s important to have the support of family, of friends. It’s been tough because … my friends, my family, they couldn’t travel, first because of Covid, then the war,” she explained.

“It’s difficult that I cannot see the people I love, often. Actually, I can see them almost never. I didn’t see my father for two years. But it is what it is. It’s life, unfortunately. I have to say thanks that it’s not a worse scenario. I’m just happy they’re healthy and I have them.”