The Billie Jean King Cup tie began with an emotional tribute to Ukraine
Thoughts of the war in Ukraine were front and center during an emotional opening ceremony for the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier tie between the United States and Ukraine in the North Carolina mountains on April, 15.
With 78-year-old American great King in attendance, Ukraine-born North Carolina resident Yuliia Kashirets gave an emotional rendition of the war-torn country’s national anthem.
As Kashirets, who was introduced as having a brother serving in the Ukraine military, belted out the anthem, players from the Ukrainian and United States teams flanked King as they stood on the court.
Odesa-born world number 93 Dayana Yastremska was draped in a Ukrainian flag, while a tear rolled down her teammate Katarina Zavatska’s cheek.
A quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people have been driven from their homes and thousands have died since Russia began its invasion of the country in February. Russia initially described its aims in Ukraine as disarming its neighbor and defeating nationalists there. Kyiv and its Western allies say those are bogus justifications for an unprovoked war of aggression.