Former world No. 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky has urged Russian and Belarusian players to step up and condemn what is happening in Ukraine. Last month, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston proposed that Russian players should be required to sign some kind of anti-Vladimir Putin forms or be banned from competing at Wimbledon.
Many called it a dangerous route and argued that publicly denouncing Putin could put Russian players and their families in danger. Wimbledon ultimately decided against going against that route but still banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing at The Championships.
“You cannot be neutral. If they are scared about financial repercussions or spending a night in jail well I’m sorry, that is still better than a rocket landing on your doorstep,” Stakhovsky told The Daily Mail.
Stakhovsky on the Wimbledon decision
Stakhovsky, who stunned record eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer at The All England Club in 2013, admitted he was surprised by Wimbledon’s strong stance. “I cannot say it was a joyful reaction but it is something I believe should be done,’ he says.
‘In the first two weeks of the war I was more laid back about it, thinking that every individual should be judged based on their stance, but we know how the Russian troops are behaving in the occupied cities. We know what they can do: slaughter, rape, torture.
So I’m sorry, I now have a different view,” Stakhovsky said. “To be honest I was a bit shocked because it (Wimbledon’s) is a very strong stance which I did not expect. But of course I am grateful for their decision because I don’t think there is anything else that can be done right now.
It is a championship which has always had its own rules. All white (clothes) and other things, they have always been for the right direction for the game. It was always different because it is a private club.”