Now, she's out of the closet and she doesn't care.
Daria Kasatkina, the top-ranked female tennis player in Russia, revealed in a video interview published on Monday that she is dating a woman.
Kasatkina, 25, who reached the semi-finals of the French Open last month, said she was inspired to come out after Russian footballer Nadya Karpova disclosed her sexual orientation.
Semi-finalist at the French Open's remarks came as the Russian parliament considers increasing existing harsh bans on public talks of LGBTQ relationships.
Kasatkina told Russian blogger Vitya Kravchenko, after revealing that she has a lover, "The only thing that matters is living in peace with yourself, f*** everybody else."
"I believe it is necessary for influential people in athletics or any other field to discuss it openly. It is essential for young people who struggle with society and want assistance," she said.
Kasatkina uploaded a picture on Instagram of her embracing Olympic silver medalist figure skater Natalia Zabiiako with a heart emoji and called Zabiiako "my cutie pie" on Twitter shortly after the interview was published.
Zabiiako, who won an Olympic medal with the Russian team in 2018, posted the identical photo with a heart on Instagram.
Iga witek, the world's number one female tennis player, upset Kasatkina in the French Open semifinals. Witek went on to win the tournament.
After Russian MPs advocated expanding a ban on the advertising of "non-traditional" sexual relationships to kids to include adults, the pronouncements of tennis players such as Kasatkina and Karpova carry a greater degree of danger.
The 2013 "gay propaganda" law in Russia has been used to halt gay pride marches and arrest LGBT rights activists.
Russian law prohibits any mention of LGBTQ partnerships Since 2013, with minors that is termed "promotion of non-traditional sexual interactions." This constrains LGBTQ advocacy and protest in public venues.
Legislators in Russia are attempting to expand this law to prohibit the "promotion" of LGBTQ partnerships in a positive or neutral light, as well as the screening of LBGTQ content in theaters.
While Kasatkina and other Russian and Belarusian players were not permitted to compete at Wimbledon this month, they are still able to compete in Women's Tennis Association (WTA) competitions, despite the fact that their national affiliations have been withdrawn.
Kasatkina stated that there was a drive for greater openness during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but this impetus was lost when Russia invaded Ukraine.