Leonid Stanislavskyi represented Ukraine at the ITF Super Seniors World Individual Championships in Florida ©ITF

Leonid Stanislavskyi says he has been honoured to represent Ukraine as the 98-year-old competes at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Super Seniors World Individual Championships in Florida.

Stanislavskyi represented the war-torn nation in the first round of the competition at Palm Beach County in Florida, where he faced the United States’ George McCabe.

Stanislavskyi, who is regarded as the oldest competitive tennis player in the world, was given a rousing reception when he walked out for the match wearing Ukrainian colours.

The Ukrainian was beaten 6-1, 6-1 by McCabe, the 90-year-old American.

Stanislavskyi said it was an honour to represent the nation at the tournament at such a challenging time.

"Now, it’s a terrible time in Ukraine because there is war," Stanislavskyi told the ITF.

"I am alone here and for me to represent Ukraine in this moment is very important.

"It is an honour for me to play tennis in the United States right now and to represent Ukraine.

"One day ago, I met two Ukrainian friends named Kate and Elister and they gave me a Ukrainian flag.

"I felt Ukraine closer to me."

Stanislavskyi has been forced to leave in Kharkiv, his home for more than 60 years, as a consequence of Russia’s invasion.

The 98-year-old travelled to Lublin in Poland to meet his daughter, where he has become a member of the local tennis club.

Stanislavskyi was a guest at Poland’s Billie Jean King Cup qualifier against Romania in Radom last month and hit with Poland’s doubles team of Magdalena Frech and Alicja Rosolska.

The ITF highlighted the organisation’s efforts to support humanitarian relief work in Ukraine through the Tennis Plays For Peace initiative.

The programme was launched in March by seven tennis governing bodies – the ITF, Women’s Tennis Association, Association of Tennis Professionals and the four Grand Slams.

Money raised from the programme goes to Global Giving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, with in excess of $1 million (£810,000/€950,000) raised to date.