Sergiy Stakhovsky returned to Ukraine to help fight the Russians


Ukrainian tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky was vacationing with his family in Dubai when Russian forces invaded his home country

Sergiy Eduardovych Stakhovsky is a Ukrainian former professional tennis player. Stakhovsky turned professional in 2003 and had been playing mostly at the Challenger level from 2005 to 2008. His career-high singles ranking is World No. 31 (September 2010) and he has reached as high as No. 33 in doubles (June 2011).

The 36-year-old Ukrainian star made an inspiring decision to leave his wife and three young children at their home in Hungary and return to his homeland (Ukraine) to join the fight.

He’s now a member of the army reservists helping defend the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. As a Russian military convoy closes in on the city and dread hangs in the air, Stakhovsky, says he is prepared to do whatever it takes.

Sergiy Stakhovsky
Sergiy Stakhovsky (Credits: SkySports)

“I was born here, my grandparents are buried here, and I would like to have a history to tell to my kids,” he said. “Nobody here wants Russia to free them, they have freedom and democracy … and Russia wants to bring despair and poverty.” [via]

Stakhovsky had retired from professional tennis only weeks earlier at the Australian Open, ending an 18-year career. Now he’s hunkered down with his fellow civilian soldiers in Kyiv — and struggling with his decision.

Sergiy Stakhovsky says he will use a gun if necessary after the tennis player joined Ukraine’s reserve army following Russia’s invasion of the country last week.

“I know how to use the gun,” he said in an interview with BBC Today. “I pretty much hope that I will not have to use the gun, but if I have to, I’ll have to.[via] 

“I know that it is extremely hard on my wife. My kids don’t know that I’m here. They don’t understand war. They’re too little to understand what’s going on,” said Stakhovsky, who retired from professional tennis after the Australian Open in January.

Elina Svitolina hopes to ‘unite tennis community’ behind Ukraine

Svitolina, was seen wearing the blue and yellow of Ukraine’s flag, won 6-2 6-1 against Russian Anastasia Potapova in the Monterrey Open first round.

Elina Svitolina header
July 1, 2021: Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during the second round of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tennis tournament against Magda Linette of Poland – ZUMAa181 20210701_zaa_a181_231 Copyright: xRobxPrangex

The 27-year-old initially refused to play the match until the WTA and ATP said Russian and Belarusian players must compete as neutral athletes.

“I was on a mission for my country,” said the world number 15.

“I’m in a very sad mood, but I’m happy I’m here playing tennis.

“I think it’s my mission to unite our tennis community to stand with Ukraine, to help Ukraine because what we’re going through is a horrible thing for all Ukrainians.

“That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing for my country and doing my best to use my platform to try to invite people to support Ukraine.” [vic]

Svitolina will face Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova in the second round in Mexico.

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