Vera Zvonareva joined compatriot Andrew Rublev in showcasing a public anti-war message during her Miami Open defeat to Danielle Collins
Russian tennis star Vera Zvonareva displayed a ‘no war’ message on her visor during her third-round defeat to Danielle Collins at the Miami Open.
Zvonareva was crushed 6-1 6-4 by her American opponent, but the former world number two – a beaten finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010 – caught the attention of fans and onlookers alike with her attire. She donned a pink visor with an anti-war statement emblazoned across it.
The 37-year-old had the words ‘no war’ written on the visor during the contest. It was another anti-war statement from players whose native countries are embroiled within the conflict in Ukraine. Her compatriot Andrey Rublev wrote ‘no war please’ on the camera lens while playing Dubai last month.
UK Minister of Sport Nigel Huddleston suggested Russian players should denounce president Vladimir Putin if they hope to play in tournaments like Wimbledon, and Rublev insisted sport and politics should remain separate. The Russian said: “In the beginning, before I wrote this on camera, I was receiving many like bad messages.
“I was not even thinking how many people will see this or where it will go or something. I just wrote what I feel in that moment. That’s it.
“After this, somehow it gets over 22 million views. I think I was one of the first sportsmen in the world who say this. In the end, all the messages I start to receive, almost 100%, all of them were only positive, like, ‘Thank you,’ stuff like that.
USA TODAY Sports)
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“We’re athletes. We want to compete. We are sacrificing so many things. I think sport should be outside of politics because everyone says this, but in the end it looks like still it’s not happening.”
US Open champion and former world number one Daniil Medvedev is perhaps the most high-profile player from the affected countries on either the men’s or women’s tour. The 26-year-old is yet to give an opinion or statement on the invasion of Ukraine by his native Russia, although he admitted he is ‘always for peace’.
Belarussian Victoria Azarenka recently revealed her ‘devastation’ at the ‘pain and suffering for so many’. The 32-year-old voiced her disappointment at her country’s involvement in the conflict as Belarus acted as a staging post for Russian troops.