People around the world have been doing their part to try to relieve Ukraine’s suffering. Recently, several professional tennis players have been using their platform to try to bring relief and peace to the beautiful country of Ukraine.
Russia’s horrific attack on Ukraine has led many people to reflect on the importance of unity and peace. People around the world have been doing their part to try to relieve Ukraine’s suffering. Recently, several professional tennis players have started speaking up regarding the devastating news. They have shifted conversations from their career success to the important topic at hand. In an interview after his match, Andrey Rublev, #6 ATP player from Russia, emphasizes this by switching the conversation from his tennis match and explaining that tennis is not the important topic right now. He finished his statement by saying, “You realize how important it is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what and to be united… We should take care of our earth and of each other. This is the most important thing.”
Rublev, Russian, and Denys Molchanov, Ukrainian, partnered up for the ATP Tour 250 in France and won. These matches served as a symbol of peace and unity. He even further explains his feelings by saying, “In these moments, you realize that my match is not important. It’s not about my match, how it affects me. Because what’s happening is much more terrible. You realize how important it is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what and to be united.” In addition, Rublev wrote a powerful message on camera after his win at the tournament,“No War Please”, which the audience applauded in response.
His fellow Russian player, Daniil Medvedev who is the current #1 ATP player also spoke up. He emphasizes the same theme as Rublev in saying, “By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world. We play in so many different countries. I’ve been in so many countries as a junior and as a pro. It’s just not easy to hear all this news.”
The war has had greater effects on Elina Svitolina, the #15 WTA player from Ukraine. Last year, she was celebrating winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics and getting married to the French tennis pro, Gael Monfils. But now, in a recent exclusive interview with Eurosport, Svitolina revealed her feeling “brokenhearted” and “useless” about the current situation in her home country. Many of her friends and family are still in Ukraine and are suffering from the war. They have had no access to electricity, food, and water. To support her home country, she intends to donate all of her prize money to the Ukrainian military and humanitarians.
Svitolina calls people to action by saying, “We can do much more. And I think the tennis community can really help us to understand what’s happening and really help Ukrainian people, Ukrainian families who are struggling right now and who are losing their soldiers, they’re innocent people who are just dying to defend their country.”
This war has impacted many people in and outside of Ukraine. There are many brave people speaking up for Ukraine and using their resources to help in whichever way they can. One of these very brave people is former Ukrainian tennis pro, Sergiy Stakhovsk. He has joined the Ukrainian military to fight in the war and defend his country. Stakhovsk shares his love and appreciation for his home country in an Instagram post where he thanks his country, his president, the Ukrainian national guard, and the Ukrainian military.
Iga Swiatek, the #4 WTA player from Poland also voiced out her support for Ukraine at the Qatar Open. She explains what many people are feeling, “I want to show my support to all the people who are suffering in Ukraine. Seeing those images is really emotional for me. I wouldn’t even imagine stuff like that happening in the country next to me. I hope everybody will be safe in the end.”
It is very inspiring to see these professional athletes use their sport as a platform to express solidarity and promote peace.
As a tennis player myself, I believe sports could unite people regardless of nationality, race, gender, and ethnicity, especially tennis as one of the most global sports. I am happy to see so many great tennis players putting the game to the side and using their platform to speak about the real issue at hand. Now as a USP advisor, I hope students can be inspired by these professional players in believing and understand that their sport can be a powerful tool to speak up and take action in making the world a better place. It’s beyond health and fun; it’s something bigger than all that, which has been portrayed by the professional players mentioned above. Iga Swiatek has summarized this best on her social media explaining,“If sport can connect us even if a bit today and give us a tiny bit of joy in these tough moments, I’m grateful for that.”