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World’s oldest tennis player chooses to stay in Ukraine as Russia invades


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Ukrainian Leonid Stanislavskyi, the world’s oldest tennis player, said on Monday he hoped to survive Russia’s invasion of his country.

Stanislavskyi, a 97-year-old amateur tennis player, told Reuters he hoped to survive long enough to reach triple figures and said there was no real reason for war in the 21st century.

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The world’s oldest tennis player, Ukrainian Leonid Stanislavskyi, 97, attends a Guinness World Record certificate award ceremony in Kharkiv, Ukraine, July 7, 2021.
(REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevsky)

“I hope to live to be 100 years old. I have to survive this scary situation. The war started on the 24th (February). From the 24th until now, I hardly went out. I stayed at home … I have supplies, the fridge is full. I’m sitting at home, I’m not going anywhere,” he told the news agency.

He said his sister is in Poland and begged him to leave Ukraine, but he has no intention of doing so.

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“I never thought I would have to live through another scarier war where people on both sides are dying – mothers losing their children, women losing their sons and their husbands,” said Stanislavskyi, who helped build military aircraft for the Soviet Union during World War II to fight the Nazis.

The world's oldest tennis player, Ukrainian Leonid Stanislavskyi, 97, trains on the court in Kharkiv, Ukraine, July 7, 2021.

The world’s oldest tennis player, Ukrainian Leonid Stanislavskyi, 97, trains on the court in Kharkiv, Ukraine, July 7, 2021.
(REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevsky)

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“What is it? What is it for? In the 21st century, there can be no war. War must be stopped, a deal must be made.”

Stanislavskyi said he hoped the war would end so he could return to the field.

He was part of the International Tennis Federation and was captured in an award-winning photo during the 2021 ITF Super-Seniors World Championships in Mallorca, Spain. He told ITF Tennis last week that he did not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin would agree to the invasion.

“I never thought I would see all of this again. When Putin was gathering his forces at our borders, I never believed that a full-scale invasion would happen. But Putin did and a massacre is happening in right now,” he told the website. .

The world's oldest tennis player, Ukrainian Leonid Stanislavskyi, 97, attends a Guinness World Record certificate award ceremony in Kharkiv, Ukraine, July 7, 2021.

The world’s oldest tennis player, Ukrainian Leonid Stanislavskyi, 97, attends a Guinness World Record certificate award ceremony in Kharkiv, Ukraine, July 7, 2021.
(REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevsky)

“Young men, civilian women and children are dying. Putin and the world, please stop the war. Say no to war.”

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Stanislavskyi is expected to turn 98 later this month.


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