DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev wrote “No War Please” on a TV camera moments after advancing to the final at the Dubai Championships on Friday.
The seventh-ranked Rublev had just beaten Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) in their semifinal match before writing his message on the camera — as is common after matches.
Russian troops bore down on Ukraine’s capital Friday in an invasion of a democratic country that has fueled fears of wider war in Europe and triggered worldwide efforts to make Russia stop.
Rublev wasn't asked about the message during his on-court interview immediately following the match. ESPN reports that he said he was getting negative comments online over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"In these moments, you realize that my match is not important. It's not about my match, how it affects me," Rublev said Thursday according to ESPN. "What's happening is much more terrible.
"You realize how important (it) is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what, to be united. It's about that. We should take care of our earth and of each other. This is the most important thing."
Compatriot Daniil Medvedev spoke Thursday at the Mexico Open about waking up to news that his country had invaded Ukraine.
“Watching the news from home, waking up here in Mexico, was not easy,” said Medvedev, who will become the No. 1 men's player when rankings are announced next week.
“By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world,” Medvedev continued. "We play in so many different countries. It’s just not easy to hear all this news. I’m all for peace.”