Elina Svitolina says that the WTA produced lots of press releases, but have not taken proper action ©Getty Images

Ukraine's Olympic bronze medallist Elina Svitolina has criticised the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) for an alleged lack of action in helping the country's tennis players following the incident with Lesia Tsurenko last month.

Tsurenko withdrew from her match against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus at the Indian Wells Open as she suffered a "panic attack" following talks with WTA chief executive Steve Simon.

Simon is said to have told the Ukrainian that if Russian and Belarusian players support the war then that is "only their opinion" which should not upset her.

Russian and Belarusian tennis players have been allowed to compete using neutral status following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Some of these players, including Sabalenka, have claimed that they receive "hate" in the locker room despite not openly supporting the invasion.

The Belarusian also said that the WTA is doing all it can to support the Ukrainians, which Svitolina disagrees with.

"We are afraid, we feel empty," Svitolina said, according L’Equipe.

"What is happening to Lesia is very sad.

"People who haven't experienced it can't really understand what it feels like to have no home, to feel safe nowhere, to have family in Ukraine, under the bombs, to know that Ukrainian cities are being destroyed. 

Elina Svitolina is hoping to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Elina Svitolina is hoping to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

"It's both fear and a great emptiness.

"The WTA should have done more, much more, on many issues.

"Now it's too late. 

"There have been a lot of press releases, a lot of interviews. 

"It was useless."

The WTA has claimed it has "consistently reflected our full support for Ukraine".

Sviotlina returned to tennis this week after a year-long absence that began at last year's Miami Open due to maternity leave.

She won the WTA Finals in 2018 and is a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, as well as her Olympic bronze medal in the singles from Tokyo 2020.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board recommended that individual Russian and Belarusian athletes should be allowed to re-enter competition, if they are not openly in support of the invasion of Ukraine or affiliated to the military.

Svitolina, who is looking to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics, said she does not think about Russian and Belarusian athletes competing in the French capital as it is the concern of the IOC and Ukrainian Olympic Committee.