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“Life was in full swing here. Now ruins are all around”. Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev visits National Tennis Center

“Life was in full swing here. Now ruins are all around”. Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev visits National Tennis Center
Most decorated Ukrainian male tennis player, runner-up at Roland Garros-1999 and winner of four ATP Masters 1000 titles doesn’t hide his sadness while walking around what’s left from the modern sport facility in Irpin. A vibrant city was occupied following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion and was one of the hotspots of fighting near Kyiv. Ukrainian forces seized back control after fierce resistance in late March.

"This place was well known to almost every member of the Ukrainian tennis community, - Andrei Medvedev says. - And not only to Ukrainians! After all, not only national competitions but also professional ones took place here”.

Ukrainian Tennis Federation’s tennis center, a revamped tennis club, was opened in May 2019. Just 3 years later all seven courts together with the entire infrastructure of the site are either destroyed or in no playing conditions after the barbaric actions of Russian troops.

“The UTF tennis Center has become a real sports home for players. I used to come here… I don't even remember how many times! I was coaching some players, watching others… It was, in fact, a very important place emotionally. And what’s happened to it is just...”.

At this time of the year Andrei Medvedev, who lost to Andre Agassi in the French Open final in an epic 5-setter, usually enjoys the famous courts in Paris again. He takes part in the Legends event and often competes in the finals. In the latest edition of the tournament Andrei Medvedev together with Juan Carlos Ferrero, who’s coaching Carlos Alcaraz, lost in the title match to the French duo Sébastien Grosjean and Michaël Llodra. Because of the war in Ukraine Andrei Medvedev will miss the event this time.

In April Svitlana Medvedeva, a brilliant tennis coach and beloved mother of former world No. 4 Andriy Medvedev and former World No. 23 Natalia Medvedeva, passed away.

Earlier this year Medvedev, who is a captain of the national Davis Cup team, also wasn’t able to be with his players when the tie between Ukraine and Barbados was moved to Turkey. Ukraine was a host nation, so the Ukrainian fans also lost a rare opportunity to see and support its players in Kyiv. Instead, they had to survive under Russian occupation in early March.

Just recently, Ukrainian sappers have finished demining all the main roads in Kyiv Region. Unexploded bombs were also found on the tennis courts of the UTF Center in Irpin. According to the authorities, it will take approximately 5-7 years to clear the Ukraine's territory out of mines.

“And what has happened to the Ukrainian cities?! As soon as we passed Gostomel, we drove to Irpin, we were near Bucha… What we’ve seen there? Buildings, gas stations, shops, cafes were completely destroyed… Life was in a full swing here, and now...”, - Medvedev sighs.

Department of Tourism of the Kyiv Region State Administration has launched an online project, the VR Museum of War Memory, so any visitor can take 3D tours of the most affected towns and see the devastation left here after the liberation.

“Of course, Ukraine will rebuild everything after the victory!, - Medvedev sounds confident. - But… Now, today, we are here and ruins are all around. This mob somehow hates Ukrainians on a genetic level. It’s impossible to understand this. But it is what it is”.

As of May 18, the bodies of 1,288 civilians killed by the Russian military during the occupation have been found in Kyiv Region.

Website BTU - Ukrainian Tennis - joins the fundraising to help internally displaced persons in Dnipropetrovsk Region
You can support those, who have been forced to flee their homes due to the Russian military aggression, with a donation via PayPal

Фото: UTF / FFT / IMAGO.
Добавлено: admin  21/05/22 22:43  Просмотров: 445  Рейтинг: 0  
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