Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev took his win at Friday’s Dubai Championship semifinals as an opportunity to send a message to his home country. Moments after his victory, he wrote “No war please” on the lens of a TV camera in the middle of a live broadcsat.
The crowd could be heard cheering loudly as the player, ranked seventh in the world, walked off the court. The Huffington Post reports that he was not asked about the statement in his interview immediately following the match.
Friday’s match, in which Rublev defeated Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5), took place as Russia continued its attack on Ukraine. The invasion has now reached Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, as the Russian military closes in on the city from multiple sides.
Meanwhile, the US, EU, Australia and Japan have declared new sanctions against Russia, while the NATO Response Force will take action for the first time since its creation.
At Friday’s match, Rublev wasn’t the only one who appeared to be demonstrating against the Russian invasion. Crowd members held up flags, including the red and white Polish flag and the blue and yellow Ukrainian colors.
Rublev is the latest Russian celebrity to publicly declare opposition to the war. Vice News notes that rap star Oxxxymiron announced the cancellation of six sold-out shows on Instagram. “Right now I am not capable of being silent,” the 37-year-old said. “I know that most Russians are against this war. I believe that the more people will speak about their real opinion on this war, the faster we will be able to stop this nightmare.”
Soccer player Fedor Smolov, comedian Maxim Galkin and TV personality Ivan Urgant also expressed their dissent on Instagram. Many others have posted black squares with the caption “Ні війні” or “Нет войне” meaning “no war,” next to a Ukrainian flag emoji.