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.
'WE MISS YOU': Tennis player's message to parents after fleeing Ukraine
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.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with the most forceful (and personally risky) statement yet by a Russian player related to Ukraine.
The part about "personal ambitions" is the thing here. Incredibly pointed in its critique of the motivations behind the invasion. https://t.co/OchjgXqSAp
— Tick Tock Tennis (@TickTockTennis) February 28, 2022
This is *so* brave. Many RUS tennis players have courageously spoken out against war but this statement by Pavlyuchenkova goes beyond. The @WTA has had many amazing leaders and this is yet another example of off-court strength that will inspire so many 🥺❤️ https://t.co/6xywpxOWjt
— Sumer (@sumerr_D) February 28, 2022
Considering what speaking out in Russia as an ordinary citizen can get you, this is brave for a high profile figure to do. Good on Pavlyuchenkova. https://t.co/RT2AtAaWaD
— Donnie Johnson Sackey (@donniejsackey) February 28, 2022
However, fans noticed on the WTA website that the nationality of Russians - including that of Pavlyuchenkova - and details had been removed from the publication.
No announcement about this, but the nationality of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and other Russians is currently not detailed on the WTA website ranking list. pic.twitter.com/8VluMO6aiD
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) February 28, 2022
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.
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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