Tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky from Ukraine expressed his ‘disappointment’ with Russian celebrities who are silent over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his country. Due to the nation’s severe censorship regulations, those who criticize the authorities run the possibility of being jailed.
According to estimates, at least 47,000 people have perished since Putin gave the go-ahead to invade Ukraine in February. More than 17 million people have been forced to flee their homes, and a further 13,000 are thought to have sustained serious injuries.
In an effort to make pariahs out of Russia’s aggressive regime, numerous sports, including Formula One and football, have pushed to ban Russian drivers and teams. Tennis, on the other hand, has taken a more tolerant position, allowing Russian players like world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev to compete as long as they do so under a neutral flag.
The All England Club refused to allow them to compete, which created issues at Wimbledon. As a result of the ATP’s decision to exclude ranking points from the competition, Novak Djokovic dropped to No. 7 in the world.
At a charity event in Poland organized by women’s No. 1 Iga Swiatek to collect money for young people afflicted by the war, the now-retired Stakhovsky gave a speech.
“I’m disappointed to say the least,” he explained. “They are scared for their fate. They don’t want to go to jail but they are okay that the kids and women are dying.
“I would rather trade and go to jail for a couple of weeks or even a month if I can save a life by doing that.”
When he attended the French Open earlier this year, he said that the Russian athletes intentionally sought to avoid him.
And he said: “I met some of the Russian players in Paris. I’m not going to name names during Roland Garros and basically, all of them just turned around and walked away or turned their heads when they saw me.”
He was eager to highlight Daria Kataskina and Andrey Rublev, though. Both pros have opposed the war; Rublev was the first to take to the streets to protest it when it first started. In a courageous video where she denounced the war and came out as homosexual, the women’s No. 12 made a statement calling it a “horror.”
“Rublev may be the only player who came out publicly and said stop the war in the first week, while I have a great admiration for Daria. She is a hero in her own way,” Stakhovsky explained.
“If there were more Russians like this the war would never have started.”