2021 was a banner year for Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, who had some of the best performances of his young career. But he may have just made a global name for himself with his actions today.
After defeating Hubert Hurkacz to advance to the Final of the Dubai Tennis Championships, Rublev stepped over to the side. He took out a marker and wrote "No war please" on the nearby camera.
Rublev's actions immediately earned him a massive round of applause from fans at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre. The announcers for the event game the 24-year-old props as well.
"He might just have a message, Andrey Rublev," the announcer said. After seeing what Rublev wrote, he added, "And we can all get behind that."
Andrey Rublev might have a personal stake in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Just last week he won the men's doubles at the Open 13 in Marseilles with Denys Molchanov. Molchanov is from Ukraine.
The past year has been an almost magical one for Rublev. He recorded his highest-ever finish at Wimbledon and the Australian Open before winning gold at the Olympics in mixed doubles.
A protest like that may not go over well for Rublev back home though. It was extremely gutsy of him to make any sort of statement on a stage as big as Dubai like that.
But good on him for standing for what he believes in.