tennisWorld No. 1 mobilizes for Ukraine
Iga Swiatek has organized exhibition matches in his native Poland. She had invited Agnieszka Radwanska, Elina Svitolina, Ukrainian football legend Andrei Shevchenko and the very committed Sergiy Stakhovsky.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has organized a charity event in Kraków, the proceeds of which will benefit young people affected by the war in Ukraine. The Pole took the opportunity to talk about the war raging in this country.
She felt that the world was beginning to forget about the war in Ukraine. “In a way, the memory faded and a lot of players removed the ribbons (Ukrainian blue and yellow) they wore for, say, a couple of games in early February,” she said.
“I find it a bit inconsistent but my main focus is what I can do to help,” added the 21-year-old. “I also know a lot of players don’t feel like speaking out… We can all choose to share our thoughts or keep them to ourselves and I respect that,” she added.
Stakhovsky ‘disappointed’ with Russian players
Former Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, 36, said on Saturday he was “disappointed” by Russian tennis players who failed to denounce Russia’s invasion of his country for fear of reprisals.
“They are all afraid for their own fate. They don’t want to go to jail, but they accept the deaths of children and women,” Stakhovsky told reporters in Kraków, Poland. He takes part in the exhibition tournament organized by Iga Swiatek.
“I’d rather swap, go to jail for a few weeks or even a month if it could save a life. I also know a lot of players don’t really want to speak up… We can all choose to share our thoughts or keep them to ourselves and I respect that,” she added.
Other participants include former world No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska, Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Ukrainian soccer legend Andrei Shevchenko.
Andrey Rublev and Daria Kasatkina stand out
Stakhovsky, who retired earlier this year and joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces, lamented the sudden silence from Russian players.
“I met Russian players in Paris – I won’t name names – during Roland-Garros. Almost everyone left or turned their heads when they saw me coming,” he said.
“I’ve known them all for a very long time. I’ve seen her career develop. And I’m disappointed, that’s the least we can say,” lamented the man who won four ATP titles in his career.
Stakhovsky, on the other hand, portrayed Andrey Rublev and Daria Kasatkina as the only exceptions to this rule, praising them for their refusal.
“Heroine in her own way”
“Rublev is perhaps the only player who spoke publicly and said from the first week, stop the war,” Stakhovsky explained, referring to the Russian’s gesture during the Dubai tournament, where he registered with a camera lens the “No war, please” message.
Kasatkina called the war a “nightmare” in a recent YouTube interview and also criticized Moscow’s stance on homosexuality after revealing he was in a relationship with a woman.
“I really admire Daria… She’s a hero in her own way,” Stakhovsky said. “If there were more Russians like you, this war would never have started.”
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