by Sophie Penney
March 7 (Reuters) – Four months in the past, Leonid Stanislavskyi’s dream got here true: the 97-yr-outdated beginner tennis player performed towards Spanish champion Rafael Nadal. But since then, the Ukrainian has been residing his worst nightmare in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest metropolis bombarded by Russian forces.
Leonid Stanislavskyi, who holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest tennis player in the world, additionally dreamed of taking part in towards Swiss champion Roger Federer, however now has just one want – to outlive.
“I hope to live to be 100. I have to survive this scary situation,” he advised Reuters.
“The war started on the 24th (February). From the 24th until now, I hardly went out. I stayed at home (…) I have provisions, the refrigerator is full. I am sitting at home, I’m not going anywhere,” he added.
“My daughter Tanya is in Poland, she wants to take me there. But I decided to stay here. I have bad hearing, so I sleep at night and can’t hear anything. Last night there was there was bombing, and in the morning there were air raid sirens again.”
Leonid Stanislavskyi survived World War II. He was then an engineer and helped construct Soviet warplanes to battle the Nazis.
“I never thought I would experience another, scarier war where people on both sides are dying – mothers are losing their children, women are losing their sons and husbands,” he added.
“What is it? What good is it? In the 21st century, there can be no war. War must be stopped, an agreement must be reached.”
For Leonid Stanislavskyi, the finish of the battle would additionally imply the risk of returning to tennis – and maybe of taking part in the subsequent senior world championships in Florida subsequent month.
He was 30 years outdated when he discovered the sport and had to date used to coach 3 times every week.
“Tennis is my life, my future. Since the age of 90, I’ve been taking part in tennis at a severe degree, I’ve performed overseas, I’ve participated in world championships, I participated in European championships.
“I’m not afraid of anyone (…) I hope the war will end and I can play tennis. If I could go (to Poland), I would play there. But I decided to stay at home and wait for the end of the war”.
(Written by Rohith Nair; French model Elena Vardon, enhancing by Blandine Hénault)