Former world No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky has hit out at Tottenham boss Antonio Conte for saying that banning Russian athletes from sporting events is “very sad” and “not fair”.
Several sports organisations have banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at events. In football, FIFA and UEFA have banned Russia from competing in competitions.
The ATP and WTA Tours have allowed tennis players to keep playing, but not under the flags or names of either nation. Players are also not allowed to compete in the Davis Cup and the Billie Jean Cup.
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Conte was asked to give his opinion on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is impacting the sporting world. He replied: “I repeat, it’s very sad that this serious situation, this war between Russia and Ukraine, is affecting football and the sporting [world].
“To know that Russian athletes are banned from competitions is very sad.
“I think it is not fair. I know very well the work that they do every day for this competition. You have to pay for this situation, I think it is not right.”
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Stakhovsky, who retired from tennis at the start of the year to join the Ukrainian military to fight on the frontline, has criticised the Italian’s comments.
“I am not sure you understand the situation in Ukraine,” he wrote in a message to Conte on Instagram, which he then shared on his Instagram story.
“Otherwise, I cannot imagine you would make a comment which would sound like you are sad about Russian athletes and businessmen.
“Millions of Ukrainians had to flee their homes because of the Russian invasion. Millions have to leave [sic] through hell in their own cities while Russian planes and artillery bombard them.
“Please wake up. Russians will have to carry collective guilt for the destruction and killings they are committing in Ukraine.”
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