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Ukraine star Sergei Stakhovsky extends a renewed invitation to Wimbledon to face Russia | tennis | sports

Ukrainian tennis star Sergei Stakhovsky has called for the “special” Wimbledon to continue showing solidarity and ban Russian and Belarusian tennis players again this summer.

Speaking from a hideout in Kiev where he serves in the National Guard, the former world number 31 said: “Nothing has changed in a significant way to allow them to compete.”

The All England club will decide next month whether to ban Russian and Belarusian players for the second year after the invasion of Ukraine.

Last year’s events saw the grass court Grand Slam stripped of ranking points – and the association handed heavy fines for refusing to take part in other British events. Another ban this year could result in the loss of licenses for events at Queen’s Club and Eastbourne.

Speaking on the first anniversary of the war, Stakhovsky said last year’s unilateral actions by Wimbledon were “very much appreciated” in Ukraine. “It was all we had,” he said.

But the 37-year-old insisted that the situation has gotten worse because the numbers of this war are growing and increasing rapidly. Nothing has changed in a significant way to allow them to compete.

“Unfortunately, Wimbledon hasn’t found any support in any of the other Slam tournaments but I think that’s what makes Wimbledon special. It wasn’t about the money. Wimbledon is about different values ​​and they’ve always stood out.

“Even in the way we compete at Wimbledon in white, it represents tradition, it represents different values. And it’s those values ​​that make Wimbledon so different from other tournaments. It wasn’t about the money.”

The Australian Open saw Russian fans display pro-war flags and T-shirts, and women’s singles winner Aryna Sabalenka, playing under a neutral flag, declared: “Everyone still knows I’m a Belarusian player.”

I’m going to ban them,” said Stakovski, who beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013. “None of them have ever stood up in public and said he or she is against invasion.

“If there is one, there will be another. If everyone is silent, everyone thinks everything is fine and they do what they have to do.”

Dressed in battle gear, Stakhovsky was speaking via Teams during his time away from the front line in the Ukrainian capital.

I have seen death and destruction, despair and hopelessness. He thanked the British people for their support but said they needed more. “I know we sound like beggars but that’s what it is.

This is a large scale war. Missiles are landing all over Ukraine. till when? It will be as long as we breathe. Because unfortunately we depend on the support we get from the world and from Great Britain.

“If we don’t get this support and the Russians break through this line, we will fight from city to city. It will be a Syria scenario because the Ukrainians will not surrender.

“It’s going to be a guerrilla war. But what really underestimates the rest of the world is that once Russia, in five years, in ten years if we don’t get support, once they roll in Ukraine or create this no man’s land in Ukraine, the next step is they will attack Europe” .

At the end of the interview, I thanked Stakovski and said I hoped we could talk again in happier times. He said, “If you’re still here, we will.”


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