Vice president of Ukrainian tennis slapped the president of the European association
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As the war breaks out in Ukraine, the temperature in tennis circles in Europe is rising. The vice-president of the Tennis Association, Evgeniy Zukin, slapped the general director of the European Tennis Association (Tennis Europe), Thomas Hammerl, because he was angry because, as he said, "shamefully weak statements about Russia's military invasion of Ukraine".
The quarrel came after the meeting of the Tennis Europe Board, and in the end, the police had to intervene. The President of the Tennis Federation of Ukraine, Sergei Lagur, previously sent a letter to Tennis Europe and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), emphasizing that "this is a full-scale war that will push Ukraine back decades - a ruthless war of extermination." He called on the international tennis federations not only to cancel all tournaments in Russia and Belarus, but also to exclude the citizens of the two countries from team and individual competitions.
The announcement of Tennis Europe, which disappointed Zukin, was agreed on Saturday. It announced the suspension of junior competitions in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, calling on the "international tennis community to show solidarity with players from the mentioned countries, none of whom should be punished or blamed for the actions of the regime in their countries." However, Tennis Europe did not condemn Russia and Belarus.
"I read the statement, finished lunch, got up, turned around, saw Hammerl sitting five tables away from me and asked him: How could you do that?" "He said: Get out of here! I slapped him lightly and left," he told the British Telegraph, and after that was taken to the police station in Antalya after an attempt to re-educate Hammerl, where he admitted that he had exaggerated.
Apology accepted. However, since two witnesses sent a description of the incident to the ITF, disciplinary action could be taken against Zukin. "I will not comment on that. The investigation is ongoing. We will discuss the next steps," Hammerl said.
Zukin was in Turkey last weekend, where Ukraine will meet Barbados in the Davis Cup, since that duel had to be moved to neutral territory. As he himself said, he also transferred his wife and two children to Antalya, but his parents and 92-year-old grandmother are still in Kiev.
"They are under constant bombardment, I can't help them. This is my biggest concern. My grandmother says she saw it in 1941. That is why it is an absolute shame to say that Tennis Europe puts Russia and Belarus in the same basket and talks about stopping the tournament." "If someone wants to punish me disciplinary, fine. I don't care," Zukin added.