The world’s oldest tennis player is refusing to leave Ukraine – and insists he is ‘not afraid of anyone’ amid the Russian invasion.
Leonid Stanislavskyi, 98 years old this month, worked as an engineer to help defeat the Nazis in World War II.
He holds the Guinness World Record as the oldest tennis player, competing in the ITF 90+ tournaments.
And in 2021, he even gets a hit with 21-time Grand Slam champion and arguably the greatest tennis star of all time, Rafael Nadal.
But now Stanislavskyi is holding his ground in Kharkiv and receiving food parcels to help him keep fighting amid the ongoing war.
The 97-year-old veteran declared his desire to live to his 100th birthday that he would not evacuate despite Vladimir Putin’s army bombing his hometown and his family’s desperate pleas.
Stanislavskyi said: “I am not afraid of anyone.
“I hope that the war will end and I will be able to play tennis.
“My daughter Tanya is in Poland, she wants to take me there. But I decided to stay here. If I could [to Poland] I will play there. But I decided to stay at home and wait for the war to end.
“I have poor hearing, so I didn’t hear anything at night, there was a bomb last night, and there was an air raid siren in the morning.
“I was at home… I had utensils, the fridge was full. I sat at home, couldn’t go out and there were explosions all over the place.
“I defrosted a chicken thigh and made a barbecue. Life goes on and I need to eat. “
Stanislavskyi’s fellow Ukrainian tennis stars are trying to help the heroes in their defensive efforts.
Elina Svitolina is donating her bounty to the nation’s army while Sergiy Stakhovsky, who retired in January, bravely returned to his homeland to join the army.
Stanislavskyi blasted Putin’s brutal approach when innocent lives were tragically lost in Ukraine.
And just as to save his countrymen, he hopes the war ends as soon as possible so he can compete at the next seniors world championships in Florida next month.
According to the ITF report, Stanislavskyi added: “Tennis is my life, my destiny. I have been playing tennis at a serious level since I was 90 years old, I have played abroad, I have played in world championships, I played in the European Championship.
“I hope I live to be 100. I have to survive this terrible situation. I survived World War II and I will survive this war.
“I never thought I would have to live through another, scarier war where people from both sides are dying.
“Mothers who have lost their children, wives who have lost their children and who have lost their husbands.
“What is this? What’s the point? In the 21st century, there can be no war. War must be stopped, an agreement must be reached.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4856833/worlds-oldest-tennis-refuses-leave-ukraine-russian-invasion/ World’s oldest tennis player, 97, refuses to leave Ukraine and insists he is ‘not afraid of anyone’ amid Russia invasion