NAVRATILOVA RETURNS SERVE OVER STAKHOVSKY’S HOMOPHOBIC RANT


Martina Navratilova has returned serve over a homophobic rant by Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky.

In an interview with website xsport.ua, Stakhovsky claimed that “every other player on the women’s tour is a lesbian”.

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For good measure, he said he’d never let his daughter play the game for that reason.

Stakhovsky, 29, said there were no gay players on the men’s tour.

You see, on the ATP, we have a normal atmosphere,” he said. “If there was anything, we’d know about it, because it’s a very closed circle.

Earlier there used to be talk about Gasquet, about Nadal. Even about Federer. I won’t sacrifice my hand for the whole tour and the new guys, who are just joining, but in the backbone of the top 100 there are definitely no gays.”

Navratilova took to Twitter to hit back at Stakhovsky.

She wrote: “Did you really say this Sergiy? That you don’t want your daughter to play tennis because she might turn into a lesbian?

That is how it is translated. What you said was homophobic. Perhaps we can speak sometime in the future.”

Earlier this year, Navratilova, who revealed in the 1980s she was a lesbian, said she would like to see more tennis players come out.

I can’t believe that there has never been a male player that has taken that step,” she said.

With each passing celebrity coming out or athlete, it becomes less of a big deal and that’s eventually what we want it to be, for it not just to matter.”

Stakhovsky took issue with the comments.

She has no clue at all what men’s tennis is,” he said.

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And she has nothing to do with (men’s tennis). On the WTA tour, almost every other player is a lesbian. Can you imagine — half of them. So I for sure won’t send my daughter to play tennis.”

WTA chairman and chief executive Stacey Allaster was saddened with the Ukrainian’s claims, saying that there are still “narrow minded” people who “speak derisively about women based on sexual orientation”.

Allaster said she is proud of all WTA players who are “forward thinking” and treat everyone equal.

ATP head Chris Kermode said the matter was being reviewed by the organisation while finding Stakhovsky’s comments as “offensive, unacceptable, and have no place” in the world of tennis.

Stakhovsky made headlines for all the right reasons in 2013 when he upset Roger Federer in the second round of Wimbledon, ending the Swiss superstar’s run of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals.