Karen Khachanov Russia Australia Azerbaijan Armenia county Park city Melbourne, county Park tennis athletics ITF Karen Khachanov Russia Australia Azerbaijan Armenia county Park city Melbourne, county Park

Azerbaijan federation demands ITF action on Khachanov support for separatists

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channelnewsasia.com

MELBOURNE : The Azerbaijan Tennis Federation has demanded the International Tennis Federation (ITF) takes action against Karen Khachanov after the Russian sent messages of support to the breakaway Artsakh Republic from the Australian Open.

Khachanov, who reached the semi-finals of the Grand Slam tournament on Tuesday, wrote the message "Artsakh stay strong!" on a TV camera after two of his matches, later explaining he did it out of respect for his Armenian roots.The ethnically Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, known by the separatists as the Artsakh Republic, broke away from Azerbaijan with Armenian support after a bloody post-Soviet ethnic conflict in the early 1990s.

In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a second war in the region, successfully winning back part of the territory controlled by the Armenian-backed separatists.Azerbaijan tennis authorities sent a letter of protest to the ITF at the weekend demanding tough measures "to punish" Khachanov and prevent him from making similar "unacceptable provocations" at tennis tournaments.

The ITF said it was still considering a response, if any, to the letter and Khachanov said he had not been warned against writing similar messages on the TV camera after future matches. "I say many times.

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