Daria Kasatkina, the highest ranked Russian female tennis player, has announced that she is gay.
The world number 12 revealed on a video posted to social media that she was in a secret relationship with a woman, but she found it impossible to keep “living in the closet”.
Kasatkina posted pictures of herself and her girlfriend, figure skater Natalia Zabiiako, on Instagram.
The 25-year-old used the opportunity to speak out against Russian attitudes towards homosexuality and the restriction of LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
“So many subjects are taboo in Russia,” Kasatkina said.
“This notion of someone wanting to be gay or becoming gay is ridiculous. I think there is nothing easier in this world than being straight.”
The 2022 French Open semi-finalist said nobody would intentionally make their lives more difficult by being gay.
“Seriously, if there was a choice, Why would you make your life harder, especially in Russia? What’s the point?” she said.
A gay propaganda law passed in 2013 prevents any marches or demonstations in relation to gay rights in Russia.
Russian lawmakers are attempting to broaden the ban to include the “promotion” of the LGBTQ+ community as well as showing any content related to homosexuality in the country.
Kasatkina, who does not live in Russia, said she would never be able to show public affection to her girlfriend in her home country.
“Living in the closet is impossible. It is too hard. Living in peace with yourself is the only thing that matters,” she said.
Footballer Nadya Karpova, who came as gay last month, served as inspriation for Kasatkina to reveal her sexuality.
“Not only did Nadya help herself by coming out and getting this burden off her chest she has also helped others,” she said.
Image source: @TennisWorld