The paradox is precisely this, the Ukrainian tennis player against the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the most important tournaments. From Wimbledon to the most importan events: there are many Ukrainian athletes who have welcomed the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players.
Aleksandr Dolgopolov and Sergiy Stakhovsky, former players committed to the front to defend their country, have expressed their will on several occasions. Both would prefer the ATP and WTA to be even stricter. Elina Svitolina has turned directly to the International Olympic Committee to prevent Russians and Belarusians from participating, even under a neutral flag, in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Just thinking about the constant complaints and the point of view of the majority of Ukrainian tennis players, Oleg Prihodko’s thought is different. Born in Pavlograd, the city that hosts the well-known Chemical Factory where the USSR assembled nuclear missiles and targeted by Russia, Prihodko played three tournaments in 2022 in doubles with the Russian Yan Bondarevskiy: two ITF events and a Challenger in Vicenza.
Oleg Prihodko, the Ukrainian player against the Russians ban
Prihodko, number 123 in doubles, is a long way from the vision of his former and current colleagues and has shown no sign of hatred towards people who have nothing to do with war.
Do not judge an individual based on his nationality and do not generalize: this is the idea pursued by the Ukrainian. He explained: “I’ve played several tournaments with a Russian tennis player because he’s a friend of mine.
I just played with a friend, nationality doesn’t interest me. I think a person shouldn’t be judged on his nationality. I have many Russian friends and Belarusians, my fiancée was also born in Russia. They are very helpful to me and help me.
I’m against the war, so I don’t think they did something terrible. The Ukrainian tennis federation didn’t want me to play with a Russian tennis player? Yes, but my point of view is different and I did what seemed appropriate without following their policy to the letter.
Condemning athletes only fuels the conflict. They start waging war both on and off the pitch. Everything becomes an instrument of war and you lose sight of the principles of sport. As for the possible exclusion of Russians and Belarusians from the Olympics, as an athlete I don’t understand. I believe that sport should unite and not divide.”