Tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky joins the Ukrainian army

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Former Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky joined his country’s military forces after the Russian invasion
AFP via Getty Images

Tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky has returned to his native Ukraine, leaving his wife and three children in Hungary, as he helps defend his country against Russian forces.

Speaking to CNN recently from Kyiv, Stakhovsky – a four-time ATP title winner – said he was vacationing with his family in Dubai when Russia invaded. It was then that he decided to leave his family in their Hungarian home and join the fight as a member of his country’s army reservists.

“If I stayed at home, I would feel guilty,” said Stakhovsky, who called it a career in January after the Australian Open. “I was born here, my grandparents are buried here and I would like to have a story to tell my children. Nobody here wants Russia to set them free, they have freedom and democracy… and Russia wants to bring despair and poverty.

Although Stakhovsky has no military experience, he previously said he had "experience with a firearm in private"
Although Stakhovsky has no military experience, he previously said he had “private experience with a firearm”
AFP via Getty Images
The 36-year-old left his wife and children in Hungary
The 36-year-old left his wife and children in Hungary
AFP via Getty Images

Stakhovsky, 36, also told CNN that he and his wife did not tell their children where he was.

“My wife didn’t tell them and I didn’t tell them… where I’m going,” he said. “I guess they’ll find out soon.”

In an earlier interview with Sky News, Stakhovsky, 36, said that although he has no military experience, he has “private experience with a firearm”.

Stakhovsky beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013
Stakhovsky beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013
Getty Images
Stakhovsky celebrated in 2013 after winning Wimbledon
Stakhovsky celebrated in 2013 after winning Wimbledon
Getty Images

“My father and my brother are surgeons, they are stressed, but I talk to them often – they sleep in the basement”, he saidaccording to Reuters.

“None of us believed this could happen, and yet it did.”

Stakhovsky, who rose through the tennis ranks after shocking Rodger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, expressed his pride for his country last month in an Instagram post.

Stakhovsky is seen on Tuesday March 15, 2022 in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine
Stakhovsky is seen on Tuesday March 15, 2022 in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine
AFP via Getty Images

“I’m proud of @ukraine_defence I’m proud of @national_guard_of_ukraine I’m proud of my president @zelenskiy_official I’m proud of every Ukrainian. I am proud to be Ukrainian. Believe in our army… believe in our invincibility. Glory to Ukraine,” he wrote, according to an English translation. via Fox News.


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Stakhovsky joins other notable Ukrainians, including former heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko, who is fighting back against Russia.

Beyond the volunteers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had banned men of military age (18 to 60) from leaving the country.

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