No fears for top seed MyskinaAgence France-Presse
Doha, March 1
Qatar Open defending champion Anastasia Myskina shrugged off fears on Monday of being used as a pawn in the brewing diplomatic spat between Russia and Qatar. Speaking on the sidelines of the 600,000 dollar event, Myskina said that she had no worries of being targeted while playing in Doha.
Qatar recently held two Russian agents and charged them with the killing of former Chechen president Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev in Doha.
In tat-for-tat detentions, Russia arrested two Qataris who were with the judo team transiting through a Moscow airport to a tournament in Serbia.
"I spoke to everybody concerned before coming here," said Myskina, who is seeded third in the tournament. "I was reassured that Doha is a very safe place, especially for sportspersons."
The world No 7 didn't mince her words while criticizing the Russian authorities for mixing politics with sports.
"I think it is wrong (what they did). Sports and politics shouldn't mix," said Myskina who also paid a visit to the World Table Tennis Team Championships currently underway in Doha.
"I spoke about the situation with the Russian table tennis team. We are all fine, no problems so far."
"The Moscow media is calling me every ten minutes to ask if I am okay," she laughed. "Some newspapers wrote that I would be arrested."
The Muscovite has a first round bye in the tournament and is not likely to see action until Wednesday.
Five Russians are playing in the tournament, including rising star and Dubai Open runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova.