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'I'm Not Afraid Of Anyone': The World's Oldest Tennis Player Vows To Remain In Ukraine After Russian Invasion

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'I'm Not Afraid Of Anyone': The World's Oldest Tennis Player Vows To Remain In Ukraine After Russian Invasion

Leonid Stanislavskyi, the world’s oldest tennis player, has said he intends to remain in Ukraine and will wait out the war with Russia rather than fleeing to a neighbouring country.

The 97-year-old, who holds the Guinness World Record for being the world's oldest tennis player, hit the headlines last year after playing with 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal.

Stanislavskyi says he has no intention of leaving his native Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country.

Stanislavskyi holds the Guinness World Record for being the world's oldest tennis player (Image: PA)
Stanislavskyi holds the Guinness World Record for being the world's oldest tennis player (Image: PA)
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“I'm not afraid of anyone... I'm hoping that the war will end and I will be able to play tennis,” Stanislavskyi told Reuters.

“My daughter Tanya is in Poland, she wants to take me there. But I decided to stay here. If I could get [to Poland] I would play there. But I decided to stay at home and wait for the end of the war.

“I have bad hearing so I sleep at night and don't hear anything. Last night there were bombings, in the morning there were air-raid sirens again.”

"I hope I live to reach 100. I have to survive this frightening situation," added Stanislavskyi, who began playing tennis at the age of 30.

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“The war started on [February] 24th. From the 24th till now I have practically not gone out. I've stayed at home... I have supplies, the fridge is full. I'm sitting at home, not going anywhere.”

A World World Two veteran, Stanislavskyi was an engineer who helped build Soviet warplanes to fight Nazi Germany.

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"I never thought that I would have to live through another, more frightening war where people from both sides are dying - mothers are losing their children, wives are losing their sons and their husbands," he added.

Stanislavskyi started playing tennis when he was 30 (Image: PA)
Stanislavskyi started playing tennis when he was 30 (Image: PA)

"What is this? What good is it? In the 21st century there can't be war. The war needs to be stopped, an agreement has to be reached."

A swift end to the conflict would allow Stanislavskyi to possibly appear at the next seniors World Championships in Florida next month.

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The veteran is determined to resume playing the sport once the war is over.

"Tennis is my life, my destiny,” he added.

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Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Tennis

Rory O'Callaghan
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