Sergiy Stakhovsky hits out at Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte, telling him to ‘please wake up’

Sergiy Stakhovsky

Former world No 31 Sergiy Stakhovsky has criticised Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte for saying that the banning of Russian athletes from sporting events is “very sad” and “not fair”.

Several sporting organisations have barred Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing at events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine although the ATP and WTA Tours have adopted a more lenient approach as tennis players will be allowed to play, but not under the flags and names of the two countries.

Football bodies FIFA and UEFA have banned Russia from competing in events while the country also won’t be able to compete in the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup in tennis.

Spurs boss Conte was asked for his opinion and replied: “I repeat, it’s very sad that this serious situation, this war between Russia and Ukraine, is affecting football and the sporting [world]. To know that Russian athletes are banned from competitions is very sad.

“I think it’s not fair. I know very well the work that they do every day for this competition. You have to pay for this situation, I think it’s not right.”

Stakhovsky, who retired at the start of the year and has joined the Ukrainian military to fight on the frontline, has hit back at the Italian in an Instagram Story.

“I am not sure you understand the situation in Ukraine,” he wrote. “Otherwise, I cannot imagine you would make a comment which would sound like you are sad about Russian athletes and businessmen.

“Millions of Ukrainians had to flee their homes because of the Russian invasion. Millions have to leave [sic] through hell in their own cities while Russian planes and artillery bombard them.

“Please wake up. Russians will have to carry collective guilt for the destruction and killings they are committing in Ukraine.”