'Complete fear': Russian tennis star's brave message amid crisis

Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (pictured) holding up a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (pictured) has condemned her government's invasion of Ukraine in a strong statement. (Getty Images)

Russian tennis player Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has spoken out against her own government in a brave statement calling for an end to the war in Ukraine.

The WTA World No.14 joined compatriots ATP World No.1 Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev in calling for peace since president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

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While Pavlyuchenkova said she was in 'complete fear' over the devastation rising from Russia's actions, the tennis star said she isn't afraid of stating her position.

This is a huge move for the Russian who has criticised Putin's war, rather than just condemned the violence.

"I've been playing tennis since I was a kid. 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,” Pavlyuchenkova wrote in a statement.

"But I am not afraid to clearly state my position. I am against war and violence. Personal ambitions or political motives cannot justify violence. This takes away the future not only from us, but also from our children.

"I am confused and do not know how to help in this situation. I'm just an athlete who plays tennis. 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."

Pavlyuchenkova was praised for stating her position clearly.

However, fans noticed on the WTA website that the nationality of Russians - including that of Pavlyuchenkova - and details had been removed from the publication.

This follows Ukraine tennis star Elina Svitolina announcing she would not compete against Russian players for the foreseeable future.

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina's decision against Russia

Ukraine's top-ranked women's player Svitolina issued the stunning new boycott of Russia after declaring that she will not play against anyone from the country, following the invasion of her homeland.

Svitolina also criticised the governing bodies of tennis, shortly after two of her compatriots aimed a swing at the WTA when they slammed the organisation for not taking a position on the Russian invasion of their country.

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina (pictured) talks to the media in Dubai.
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina (pictured) won't compete against Russian tennis players following Vladimir Putin's invasion of her homeland. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

World No.15 Svitolina, is the top seed in the WTA tournament in Monterrey where she is drawn to play Russian Anastasia Potapova in her first match.

Two other Russians, Kamilla Rakhimova and Anna Kalinskaya, are also in the draw.

The 27-year-old has made it clear she will also refuse to play anyone from Belarus - a key supporter of Russia.

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