“Terrible situation”: Sergiy Stakhovsk sheds light on players afraid to speak out on Russia and Ukraine war ahead of Wimbledon 2023

One voice from the tennis community rises as the threat of war hangs over the Russia and Ukraine battle, shedding light on a depressing reality. Tennis player from Ukraine Sergiy Stakhovsky, who won a match against Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, boldly challenges the other players’ lack of response to the critical situation.

With Wimbledon 2023 just around the corner, Stakhovsky brings up an important point: the unwillingness of Russian and Belarusian players to denounce their nation’s invasion of his homeland, a position that appears to be motivated by fear of retaliation. By casting light on this “terrible situation,” Stakhovsky starts a crucial dialogue about the relationship between politics, sports, and morality.

Sergiy Stakhovsk’s take on players scared to raise their voices

Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky expressed disappointment with Russian tennis players’ reluctance to discuss their invasion of Ukraine, mainly due to fear of retaliation. Stakhovsky emphasized that these players prioritize their own futures and avoid jail time while ignoring innocent lives, especially children and women. He expressed his willingness to sacrifice freedom for a limited time of incarceration if it meant saving one life.

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Stakhovsky emphasized the obvious lack of public and private support from Russian players when he was present at a charitable tennis event run by the top-ranked player in the world, Iga Swiatek, where the revenues were going to help the young of Ukraine afflicted by the conflict. He described a depressing experience at Roland Garros in Paris, when the majority of the Russian players, whom he had known for a long time and seen their careers blossom, either willfully ignored his presence or turned away from him.


Sergiy singled out Daria Kasatkina and Andrey Rublev as the admirable exceptions, praising Rublev for his public protest against the war at the Dubai ATP event, when he inscribed the camera lens with the moving phrase “No war, please.”

Furthermore, after admitting her own sexual orientation in a recent YouTube video, Kasatkina—Russia’s top female player—bravely called the dispute a “nightmare” and criticized Russia’s position on homosexuality. Kasatkina was hailed by Stakhovsky as a hero in her own right, and he passionately wanted that other Russian tennis players would exhibit the same bravery. He said that such a united front might have stopped the start of this unfortunate conflict.

Sergiy Stakhovsk supporting Ukrainian players ‘no handshake’ stand at Wimbledon

Wimbledon removed the restriction on Russian and Belarusian players due to ATP and WTA concerns about revoked licenses. Former Ukrainian tennis champion Sergiy Stakhovsky praised Wimbledon’s bravery and ethical attitude, highlighting the lack of support from other major events. Stakhovsky urged people from affected nations to speak out against Ukraine’s atrocities and emphasize the need for a clear line between good and wrong in sports.


Sergiy thinks that players boycotting Russian opponents would have a bigger impact since it would affect tournaments financially if they suddenly found themselves without Russian opponents in the semifinals or finals. “Not shaking hands is a strong message – unfortunately, in Paris we’ve seen some wrong reception from the crowd,” Stakhovsky says. Sabalenka’s portrayal of herself as the victim in this circumstance baffles Stakhovsky, who thinks it is sad. Sergiy admits that he may no longer appreciate some players as people, but he makes it clear that his feelings do not apply to their abilities on the court.

Daria Kasatkina, a Russian player who publicly came out as homosexual in July 2022 and criticizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is highly regarded by Stakhovsky. Stakhovsky admires Kasatkina’s courage, sincerity, and audacity in tackling significant subjects, despite her outstanding tennis talents and distinctive playing style.


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