Former Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky said on Saturday he was “disappointed” by Russian tennis players who, for fear of reprisals according to him, did not denounce the invasion of his country by Russia. “They are all afraid for their own fate. They don’t want to go to jail, but they accept children and women dying,” Stakhovsky told reporters in Krakow, Poland. “I would rather trade, go to jail for a few weeks or even a month if I could save a life doing that,” he insisted.
Stakhovsky, 36, is in Poland to take part in a charity tennis event organized by Polish world No.1 Iga Swiatek, the proceeds of which will go to war-affected youth in Ukraine. Stakhovsky, who ended his career at the start of the year and joined the Ukrainian forces, regretted that the Russian players had suddenly gone silent. “I met Russian players in Paris — I won’t name names — during Roland-Garros. Almost all of them left or turned their heads away when they saw me” arriving, he said. “I have known them all for a very long time. I have seen their careers develop. And I’m disappointed, to say the least,” lamented the man who won four ATP titles in his career.
Stakhovsky, on the other hand, presented Andreï Rublev and Daria Kasatkina as the only exceptions to this rule and congratulated them for having expressed their feelings on the conflict. “Rublev is perhaps the only player to have spoken publicly and to have said stop with the war, from the first week”, declared Stakhovsky, in reference to the gesture of the Russian during the tournament of Dubai, where he had registered on a camera lens the message “No war, please”
Kasatkina called the war a “nightmare” in a recent YouTube interview and also criticized Moscow’s attitude towards homosexuality after revealing that he was in a relationship with a woman. “I have great admiration for Daria…She is a hero in her own way,” Stakhovsky said. “If there were more Russians like her, this war would never have started.”