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Novak Djokovic text message may change people’s minds

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A rival has published a text message from Novak Djokovic that may repair the tennis star’s reputation after a rough few months.

Novak Djokovic has pledged financial support to Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who has joined the fight to protect his country from the Russian invasion.

Stakhovsky, who famously beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, last week said he had signed up for Ukraine’s military reserves.

The former world number 31 on Sunday posted a screenshot on Instagram of a WhatsApp conversation with Djokovic.

“Thinking of you… hope all calms down soon,” read a message from the Serbian 20-time Grand Slam champion to Stakhovsky.

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“Please let me know what would be the best address to send help. Financial help, any other help as well…”

Stakhovsky had reportedly earlier praised Djokovic for getting in touch, while referencing the silence from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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“I also tried to contact Federer and Nadal but without success,” he said. “I am sorry that you prefer to remain silent, although I understand them. It’s not their war.”

Djokovic’s reputation has copped a hammering over his anti-vaccination Australian Open debacle, but his text to Stakhovsky may help repair it and change the mind of some critics.

The 36-year-old Stakhovsky retired after the Australian Open in January and has returned to Kyiv to take part in the struggle to repel the Russians.

“I know how to use the gun. If I’ll have to, I’ll have to. I pretty much hope that I won’t have to use the gun,” Stakhovsky told the BBC..

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Questioned about the difficulty of leaving his wife Anfisa and children at their home in Hungary, he said: “I’m still not sure how I’ve done it.

“I know that it’s extremely hard on my wife. My kids don’t know that I’m here. They don’t understand war. They’re too little to understand what’s going on.”

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Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be allowed to continue competing in ATP and WTA tournaments and Grand Slam events, the sport’s governing bodies said last week, but they will not be allowed to compete under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus.

The ITF have suspended both countries from team events, the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup.

And the ATP and WTA tournaments set to be held in Moscow in October have been suspended.

The ruling means new men’s world number one Daniil Medvedev is free to compete on tour.

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Three of the women’s top 20, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka and Victoria Azarenka and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, would have been affected by a ban.

Medvedev is one of many Russian and Belarusian tennis stars that have used their profile on social media to plead for peace.

“I want to ask for peace in the world, for peace between countries,” Medvedev posted on social media.

World number six Andrey Rublev signed the on-court camera lens “no war please” on his way to winning in Dubai.

“I have represented Russia all my life. This is my home and my country. But now I am in complete fear,” Pavlyuchenkova posted in a lengthy statement.

“I’m just an athlete who plays tennis. I am not a politician, not a public figure, I have no experience in this. I can only publicly disagree with these decisions taken and openly talk about it.

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“Stop the violence, stop the war.”