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Tennis: Russian-born Aussie star Daria Saville’s plea to ‘stop the war’

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Davis Cup debutant Luke Saville has given insight into how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is affecting his Russian-born, tennis-playing wife.

Australian Davis Cup player Luke Saville says his Russian-born wife and WTA Tour star Daria Saville will continue to protest against her birth country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The sporting world has widely condemned Russian president Vladimir Putin, with Daria Saville (nee Gavrilova) committing to wear blue and yellow in support of Ukraine at next week’s Indian Wells event in California.

Speaking in Sydney on Monday, Luke said Daria was struggling with the events of recent days.

“It’s very terrible what’s happening over there,” he said.

“It’s close to my heart as well. My mother-in-law (Natalia) and father-in-law (Alexey) are both in Russia right now, in Moscow, and just speaking to (Daria) the last few days, she’s very worried and concerned.

“Obviously, that hits home with me. I want to see her happy and playing well, so it’s definitely been on her mind. She’s a little bit sad.

“I just hope they resolve it, basically, like everyone does. I think she’s going to try and really speak up and be a voice and hopefully a lot of other players do the same.”

Daria, who switched allegiances to Australia many years ago and married Luke in December, has denounced Putin’s move on Ukraine in a series of social media posts in the past week.

“Silence in the current situation is equal to complicity. Putin, stop the war. Army, come home!” a translated Saville tweet on Sunday read.

The former world No.20 is on the comeback trail from achilles surgery after last year’s Australian Open, and last week in Mexico she made her first WTA quarter-final in almost three years.

“It was great to see. She’s had a really rough trot with injuries and struggled to build momentum for quite a few years now,” Luke said.

“I think she’s always had the belief that her level is there and so have I in her, but I think she’s great when she’s up and running and great for women’s tennis in Australia.

“I’ve got a lot of belief in her – obviously I’m a little bit biased – but it was great to see that run.

“She’s playing in Indian Wells next and hopefully she can stay on tour for the majority of this year. Get some wins, build some momentum and then hopefully the ranking takes care of itself.”



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