Russia's highest-ranked women's tennis player, Daria Kasatkina, said in a video interview released July 18 that she is dating a woman, according to ESPN.
The 25-year-old French Open semifinalist's comments come as the Russian parliament discusses tightening already stringent restrictions on public discussions of LGBTQ relationships.
In the video interview, on YouTube with Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, Kasatkina said she believes that "living in the closet" would not be sustainable long-term. "There is no point, it would always be going round in your head, until you say something. Obviously, each person decides how to open up and how much," Kasatkina added.
Soon after the interview was released, Kasatkina posted a picture on Instagram of her embracing Olympic silver-medalist figure skater Natalia Zabiiako with a heart emoji and called Zabiiako "my cutie pie'' in a Twitter post.
For almost a decade, Russian law has forbidden any discussion of LGBTQ relationships which is deemed to constitute "promotion of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors.
According to news.com .au, Kasatkina said she was inspired by Russian soccer star Nadya Karpova, who came out as a lesbian earlier this year.
Kasatkina's declaration was met with lots of positive support. Australian tennis great Rennae Stubbs wrote "QTs" with a love heart emoji, while current U.S. tennis star Amanda Anisimova also added a love heart and clapping hands.