One year on, Russia's Rublev returns to anti-war theme in Dubai
One year on from famously penning an anti-war plea on a TV camera lens, Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev on Friday reiterated his call for peace, saying it is "crazy" to see "normal citizens suffering and dying" as the Ukraine conflict rages on.
After defeating Alexander Zverev for the first time in six meetings to reach a second consecutive Dubai final on Friday, the sixth-ranked Rublev paid tribute to the late Soviet rock star Viktor Tsoi by signing the camera lens again, this time with the message: "Tsoi is alive".
"He was one artist from a past generation that had huge volume I think on USSR because his voice was really powerful," said Rublev.
"That was not sn easy time. The lyrics that he was writing gave a lot of hope to the people at that time. I just wrote it because I feel that now, at this time, is happening similar things."
Tsoi died at the age of 28 in 1990 in a car crash near Riga in Latvia.
Last year during his title run in Dubai, Rublev wrote "no war please" on the camera lens just days after his nation invaded Ukraine.
"Of course it's tough. It's hard to talk about it because even if you try to just play tennis or something, to stay practising and stuff, you know it's affecting you," said the 25-year-old.
"You cannot act like nothing is happening because it's horrible. It's crazy that so many just normal citizens are suffering, dying.
"The only thing I hope is that soon there will be peace in every country."
Players from Russia and its ally Belarusia were banned from competing at Wimbledon last year and are awaiting to learn their fate for this year's edition.