Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev has boldly called on his government to cease its attack on Ukraine after winning through to the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Both Rublev and fellow Russian star Daniil Medvedev have called for peace in Eastern Europe in the days after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine on Thursday.
'CAN'T DO THAT': Rafa Nadal responds to Alexander Zverev incident
After defeating Hubert Hurkacz in three sets to win through to the final against Jiri Vesely, Rublev walked up to one of the broadcast cameras and wrote 'no war please' on the lens.
The 24-year-old, as well as countryman and newly crowned No.1 Daniil Medvedev, were united in calling for an end to their country's invasion of Ukraine.
Medvedev, who is set to face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the Mexican Open, said the events that had unfolded over the last week had left him uneasy.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 25, 2022
It was a cruel twist that Putin ordered the advancement of troops into Ukraine on the same day Medvedev earned the top ranking, but the Australian Open runner-up said there were presently much more pressing world issues than tennis.
"Watching the news from home, waking up here in Mexico, was not easy," Medvedev said after his quarter-final win in Acapulco.
"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. ... I'm all for peace."
Medvedev noted the pair that won the doubles title at the Marseille Open last week included one Russian (Andrey Rublev) and one Ukrainian (Denys Molchanov), saying: "This was amazing, because people need to stay together."
Reflecting on the day, Medvedev added: "In these moments, you understand that tennis sometimes is not that important.
"It was not easy to play and I'm happy that I managed to win the match, but it was bit of a roller-coaster day for me."
Medvedev set for Nadal rematch at Mexican Open
Medvedev will face Rafael Nadal in the last four of the hard-court tournament after Nadal beat Tommy Paul 6-0 7-6 (7-5) in their quarter-final.
Medvedev lost to Nadal in the Australian Open final in January after blowing a two-set lead, a year after losing the final there against Djokovic.
"Always playing against the Big Three or Big Four, it's an honour, and a great challenge. In Australia (against Nadal), I could have won, but the result in the end was that I lost," Medvedev said. "It was a tough loss, but that's how sport is."
Stefanos Tsitsipas also moved on to the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Marcos Giron.
The third-seeded Tsitsipas will play England's Cameron Norrie who had little trouble beating Germany's Peter Gojowcyk 6-1 6-0.
Defending champion Alexander Zverev was kicked out of the tournament after violently hitting the chair umpire's stand with his racket following a loss in doubles.
He was fined $A56,000 and will forfeit more than $A42,000 in prizemoney and all rankings points from the Mexican Open.
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