|02 June 2013|
|Victor Khryapa will take a break this summer and not play for the Russian national team at the EuroBasket |
Viktor Khryapa, Russia's highest-profile player following Andrei Kirilenko's retirement for international duty in February, has confirmed he will not suit up for the national team at EuroBasket 2013 in September.
"My body is exhausted and needs mercy," the CSKA Μoscow forward told news agency R-Sport on Saturday, in the wake of his team's win over Khimki in the VTB United League play-off semi-finals.
"I have not had any rest since EuroBasket 2011, I am exhausted and have decided that I will not go with Russia to EuroBasket 2013," he added categorically.
Saturday's declaration of intentions by Khryapa must not come as a huge surprise to recently appointed Russia head coach Fotis Katsikaris and the country's basketball federation.
Khryapa's team-mates at CSKA Anton Ponkrashov and Andrey Vorontsevich, among others, had hinted in separate interviews with fibaeurope.com several months ago that he was considering to take the summer off.
The soon to be 31-year-old forward became a senior international in 2002 and has represented his country in four EuroBaskets, one World Championship and two Olympic Games since then.
His best moment with the national team came undoubtedly in 2007, when he averaged 11.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game at the EuroBasket and, in tandem with Kirilenko, helped Russia upset hosts Spain in the final and claim the gold medal.
Despite their powerhouse status in European basketball, Russia had never enjoyed such success as an independent nation, following the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Khryapa was instrumental in Russia following up that feat with bronze medals at EuroBasket 2011 and the London Olympics last summer.
The five-year cycle that produced three medals at major tournaments for Russia concluded with the departure of Coach David Blatt, who was in charge of the team during that period, after the London Olympics.
By the time the EuroBasket tips off in Slovenia in September, his successor might have to add more absences of key players to the already confirmed ones of Kirilenko and Khryapa.
CSKA center Alexander (Sasha) Kaun, who suffered a knee injury in the semi-final series with Khimki and missed the deciding fifth game, had hinted at a possible absence from the big event in an interview on fibaeurope.com in March.
Russia's other first-choice center meanwhile, Timofey Mozgov, told Sovsport.ru over the weekend that he would play at the EuroBasket if his agents 'are able to resolve rapidly issues in the NBA.'
Mozgov, who played for the Denver Nuggets this season, is now a restricted free-agent.