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'Stop the war' says Russian tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia returns a shot to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their Fed Cup semi-final tennis match in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday, April 19, 2015

FILE - Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia returns a shot to Angelique Kerber of Germany during their Fed Cup semi-final tennis match in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday, April 19, 2015. Photo: Artur Lebedev/AP Photo

Published Mar 1, 2022

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Paris — Top Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova voiced her opposition to the conflict in Ukraine due to last Thursday's invasion by Russia tweeting "Stop the war, stop the violence."

The 30-year-old — ranked 14 in the world and with over 12 million dollars career earnings — said she, her friends and family were very afraid of what the consequences might be.

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"Stop the war, stop the violence," she tweeted on Tuesday.

"I have represented Russia all my life. This is my home and my country. But now I am in complete fear, as are my friends and family.

"I am not afraid to clearly state my position. I am against war and violence," said the player who has reached the quarter-finals in all four of tennis' Grand Slams.

"Personal ambitions or political motives cannot justify violence. This takes away the future not only from us, but also from our children.

"I am not a politician, not a public figure, I have no experience in this. I can only publicly disagree with these decisions taken and openly talk about it. Stop the violence, stop the war."

Another Russian player Anastasia Potapova sounded a different note when she railed against being boycotted for being Russian -- Ukraine's Elina Svitolina refused to play her in the first round of the WTA tournament in Monterrey in Mexico.

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"Unfortunately now we professional athletes are becoming hostages of the current situation."

Neither the ATP nor the WTA or the International Tennis Federation (ITF) — the latter run the Davis Cup with Russia the defending champions — have taken a decision over whether Russian tennis players can carry on competing.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday had urged sports federations and organisers to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international events.

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AFP

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