‘I hope I live to reach 100’: World’s oldest tennis player staying put in Ukraine war zone


(Reuters) – Four months after 97-year-old newbie Leonid Stanislavskyi’s desires got here true when he performed with 21-times Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal, the Ukrainian is enduring his worst nightmare in Kharkiv as Russian forces bomb town.

Stanislavskyi, who holds the Guinness World Record because the world’s oldest tennis player, additionally had desires of taking part in Swiss nice Roger Federer however now he has just one easy want — survival.

“I hope I live to reach 100. I have to survive this horrifying state of affairs,” he informed Reuters.

“The war began on (February) twenty fourth. From the twenty fourth until now I have virtually not gone out. I’ve stayed at dwelling… I have provides, the fridge is full. I’m sitting at dwelling, not going anyplace,” he stated.

“My daughter Tanya is in Poland, she needs to take me there. But I determined to keep right here. I have dangerous listening to so I sleep at evening and do not hear something. Last evening there have been bombings, in the morning there have been air-raid sirens once more.”

Stanislavskyi survived the Second World War, when he was an engineer who helped construct Soviet warplanes to combat the Nazis.

“I by no means thought that I would have to live via one other, extra horrifying war the place folks from either side are dying — moms are dropping their youngsters, wives are dropping their sons and their husbands,” he added.

“What is that this? What good is it? In the twenty first century there cannot be war. The war wants to be stopped, an settlement has to be reached.”

For Stanislavskyi, an finish to the battle would additionally imply the possibility to resume taking part in tennis – and presumably to seem on the subsequent seniors World Championships, in Florida subsequent month.

He was 30 when he was launched to the game and used to prepare thrice per week.

“Tennis is my life, my future. I’ve performed tennis at a severe stage since I was 90, I’ve performed overseas, I’ve performed in World Championships, I’ve performed in the European Championships.”

“I’m not afraid of anybody… I’m hoping that the war will finish and I shall be ready to play tennis. If I might get (to Poland) I would play there. But I determined to keep at dwelling and look forward to the tip of the war,” he stated.

(Reporting by Sophie Penney; Writing by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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