Sergiy Stakhovsky: "Russian troops kill, rape, torture"

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Sergiy Stakhovsky: "Russian troops kill, rape, torture"

Former world number 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky urged Russian and Belarusian players to come forward and condemn what is happening in Ukraine. Last month, British Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston proposed that Russian players should be required to sign some sort of attestation by which they openly side against Vladimir Putin or be banned from competition at Wimbledon.

Many called him dangerous and argued that publicly denouncing Putin could endanger Russian players and their families. Wimbledon eventually decided not to go that route, but still banned Russian and Belarusian players from participating in the historic tournament.

Stakhovsky told the Daily Mail: "One cannot be neutral. If they're afraid of financial repercussions or a night in jail, I'm sorry, but it's better than a rocket landing on your door."

Stakhovsky on Wimbledon decision

Stakhovsky, who shocked eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer at the All England Club in 2013, admitted he was surprised by Wimbledon's steadfast stance.

He said: "I can't say it was a happy reaction, but it's something I think needs to be done. In the first two weeks of the war I was more relaxed about it, thinking that every individual should be judged by their position, but we know how Russian troops behave in occupied cities.

We know what they can do: killings, rape, torture. So I'm sorry, now I have a different opinion. To be honest, I was a little surprised because [Wimbledon's] is a very strong position that I didn't expect. But, of course, I am grateful for their decision, because I don't think anything else can be done at the moment.

It is a tournament that has always had its own rules. All white [clothing] and other things have always been in the right direction of the game. It has always been different because it is a private club."