Darja Kassatkina has made her homosexuality public. In a video interview with blogger Vitya Kravchenko published on Monday, the Russian tennis player also criticized that there were a number of “forbidden topics” in Russia. “For young people who face problems in public, it is very important if athletes or other well-known figures talk about it,” Kassatkina said.

She has a life partner, she confirmed when asked. On Instagram she showed a joint photo with figure skater Natalja Sabijako. “Being at peace with yourself is the only thing that matters, screw everyone else,” Kassatkina explained.

In this context, Kassatkina also praised the Russian footballer Nadezhda Karpova, who was the first Russian athlete to come out as homosexual at the beginning of June. Kassatkina criticized that there are a lot of topics in Russia that shouldn’t be talked about. Homosexuality is not even the most important thing. There was movement towards more openness at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but this process has stopped. “The road has been blocked. Road works,” Kassatkina said wryly.

Same-sex partnerships are not recognized in their country. In 2013, a law was passed in Russia that made it possible, among other things, to prevent demonstrations by the LGBTQ movement and to imprison activists. Legislators are currently even trying to expand it. Then there should be a complete ban on showing LGBTQ content in cinemas.

With her outing, Kassatkina should have made herself unpopular in her home country. She had thought about not being allowed to return to Russia after the interview, she confirmed when asked. Afterwards she had tears in her eyes.

Kassatkina was also emotional when asked about the war Russia is waging in Ukraine. “I feel powerless. Who can do something? Not even Europe can do anything,” said the 25-year-old. When asked what she would like most urgently, she said: “For the war to stop.”

Kassatkina is number 12 in the world tennis rankings, making her the highest-ranked Russian at the moment. She has won four Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) titles in her career. At the tournament in Hamburg’s Rothenbaum on Sunday, however, she failed in the first round against the Czech Katerina Siniakova.