The Ukrainian is playing for her family, with a heavy heart, at Wimbledon. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday, June 27, 2022

Much talk has been made about Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players, and the conversation has sometimes overshadowed what the Ukrainian players have had to go through since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Tennis Express

After her first-round victory over Anna Bondar at Wimbledon on Monday, Anhelina Kalinina shed some light on what the situation has been for her and her family – and it is harrowing.

“First of all, their house was attacked,” she said. “There are huge holes in the house, like huge holes. There are no apartments anymore.

“So now this home is getting rebuilt, so they can't live there. So they live in my apartment where I'm living with my husband. It's a very small apartment for my family, because, like, my mom, my dad, my brother, and they have pets. So they are so happy and we are grateful that they can move, you know, that they have place to move from Irpin city because Irpin city, everyone knows how Bucha, Irpin, is fully bombed.

“Currently, they are rebuilding the house. Now they are at home safe. They have everything. Yes, I'm grateful that they have opportunities to live, and I am playing tennis. So that's good.”

Kalinina, the No.29 seed at Wimbledon, has put together a strong season on tour under the most difficult circumstances. She is 18-12 and playing at a career-high ranking of No.34. She is also seeded at a Slam for the first time.

While talking to reporters after her maiden Wimbledon win she revealed her motivations. She says that providing financial assistance to family and friends back home is most important to her.

“I'm helping a lot to my family,” she said. “I'm helping a lot to my grandmother and grandfather who is in occupied territory now. They can't leave. So next door is like Russian soldiers with all their military stuff."

Kalinina explained the link between her tennis and her family's survival – as well as the survival of others inside Ukraine. She's proud and invigorated that she can play a role.

Not an ideal situation, but like so many from Ukraine, she's making the best of it.

"I understand it's hard to focus, but for me it matters if I win or if I lose. Because more I win, of course I've got currently money. I'm not only helping my family, I'm helping other families and other people. It's not a pressure, it's a privilege to play here. It's a privilege to play every tournament, and to get the quality of the game means better events. You go further. You earn more money.

"Then I'm able to help, and I'm helping as much as I can and not only to my family. So for me that matters."