Russian Andrey Rublev ripped a down-the-line winner against Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai’s Tennis Championships; then he ripped the Ukraine invasion.
The Russian tennis ace grabbed a sharpie and wrote “No war please” on the lens of a camera filming him shortly after winning the semi-final match against Hurkacz. The act, shown on social media in a video captured by Canadian sports broadcaster TSN, has garnered worldwide interest. The video has more than 4.4 million views already.
Born in Moscow, the 24-year-old tennis player is currently ranked 7th in men’s single play, earning almost $300,000 last year. Fans hope his finals match in Dubai won’t be — literally — his final match.
“Given the threats a Russian athlete can face from its government, this is what speaking truth to power actually looks like,” said Outkick’s Clay Travis in a Twitter post. “And this takes true courage.”
Public Relations specialist @EricaKaiser, a Seinfeld fan, commented the Russian’s act was, “Bravery personified.”
Another user agreed, saying, “This is true courage.”
One commenter seemed unable to accept the message written backwards.
The account of @HobbIslandMayor tweeted, “RIP Andrey Rublev.”
“He’s taking such a risk,” opined another user. “I don’t think people living in Western democracies appreciate his bravery and the bravery of the Russian people protesting against Putin. Unless you come from those places and can understand.”
“Look on his face says it all,” said @TheJoeMagician. “He won an important match to go to the finals, a moment he should be excited and happy. Instead his expression is grim and determined because he knows he and his family and friends just went onto lists.
The tennis star was protesting the decision by his country’s president, Vladimir Putin, to invade neighboring Ukraine.
An example of President Putin’s alleged vindictiveness pointed to by social media commenters was political opponent Alexei Navalny. The perennial political thorn in Putin’s side has been beaten and arrested many time. German doctors determined he had been poisoned with an agent known only to have been used in the past by Russian spies. After he recovered from the poisoning attempt, he returned to Russia where he was promptly arrested and imprisoned.
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