Naomi Osaka has praised fellow tennis star Daria Kasatkina for coming out as gay.
Kasatkina, Russia’s highest-ranked female tennis player, came out in a video interview with Vitya Kravchenko last month.
She told Kravchenko she was in a relationship with a woman, figure skater Natalia Zabiiako, and found “living in the closet” impossible.
The world number 12 also spoke out against attitudes towards homosexuality and restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia.
Kasatkina, who is currently competing at the Silicon Valley Classic in California, told WTA Insider that she was overwhelmed by the positive response.
“I don’t know how the social media filter works, but I’ve just heard very good things,” she said. “Not just from the west but also people from my country.
“I’m really happy about it. As I saw, it was not just a good thing for me, also it helped other people.
“That’s great and I feel great. I feel happy about it and about myself and that’s most important.”
The 25-year-old Kasatkina has also been praised by her fellow tennis players, including Coco Gauff and four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka.
“I thought it was really amazing how she’s doing that,” Osaka said. “I do think we have to rally to support her because it is a bit of a dangerous situation.
“But I think in all of that it’s really incredible that she’s coming out and she’s standing for what she believes in. I’m always in support of that.”
Gauff added: “I think in tennis, at least with the girls around, we’re all very supportive of each other no matter the background or identity. I don’t think there’s any judgement when it comes to that.
“I’m grateful that she felt comfortable enough sharing that part of her life. She didn’t have to do that. But I can only imagine how many people in her situation feel inspired by that.”
Kasatkina is into the Silicon Valley Classic quarter-finals after victories against Taylor Townsend and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.
She is enjoying a successful season, reaching the semi-finals at the Italian Open and French Open earlier this year.
“This is the point when I have to realise that I am an adult and mature enough,” Kasatkina said. “I’m not 18 anymore. I cannot rely that I am young and I will have time.
“No, I’m 25, I have to act now. I have to show everything I’ve got in these years. I think this is already the time to give more than take.”