WIMBLEDON, England — When Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia reached across the net to embrace her American opponent Sloane Stephens after a hard-fought 6-7(1), 6-2, 8-6 victory Sunday afternoon, she did so without hesitation, but also with a purpose.
“I saw her having her hands like that, so definitely I hug her,” Kuznetsova said. “Great, great sportsmanship. I think it’s a great example for the next generation: You don’t have to have hate for each other. It’s all about peace, not war. We have to show that, because sometimes they mix sport with politics. It’s very important that we show for the next generations that this is out of that, you know? To give a good example.”
Despite strained relationships between Kuznetsova’s native Russia and the United States — she is conscious of her role as a symbol of shared values in sports that transcend political differences.
“This has nothing to do with our countries,” Kuznetsova…