'Will use gun if I have to': Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky, who beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon, joins war against Russia

Former Ukraine tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky hoped that he doesn't get to use the gun, but will be forced to do so if a situation arises.

Published: 03rd March 2022 01:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2022 01:38 PM   |  A+A-

Former Ukraine tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky

Former Ukraine tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky (Photo | AP and YouTube)

By Online Desk

Former Ukraine tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky, who scripted a historic win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, is up for a different battle this time around.

Former ATP world number 31 Stakhovsky returned to Ukrainian capital Kyiv to join the country's defense to fend off the Russian attack.

The Ukrainian government has told the men aged between 18 and 60 to stay back in the country and fight against the Russian invasion.

Stakhovsky hoped that he doesn't get to use the gun, but will be forced to do so if a situation arises.

In an interview with BBC, he said, "I know how to use the gun. If I'll have to, I'll have to. I pretty much hope that I won't have to use the gun."

Stakhovsky also stated that his decision to leave behind his wife Anfisa and children in Hungary as a 'horrible' move.

He also mentioned that his family thinks that he has gone to play a tennis tournament in another country.

Stakhovsky said, "I'm still not sure how I've done it. I know that it's extremely hard on my wife. My kids don't know that I'm here (in Ukraine). They don't understand war. They're too little to understand what's going on."

Stakhovsky is one of the well-established tennis stars on the ATP tour. He has over 175 wins under his belt in singles competition and has won 4 ATP Tour titles. The veteran star has also reached the third round of all four Grand Slams.

The 36-year-old announced retirement from tennis during the recently concluded Australian Open in January.

Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina put on the yellow and blue colors of Ukraine and beat Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 on Tuesday in the opening round of the Monterrey Open, deciding she could do more for her country by playing than boycotting the match.

Top-seeded Svitolina earlier said she wouldn’t play against Potapova in Mexico or against any Russian or Belarusian opponents until the International Tennis Federation and the men’s and women’s tennis tours barred competitors from those countries using any national symbols, flags or anthems.

The tennis governing bodies issued a statement on Tuesday confirming that Russian and Belarusian players will still be allowed to compete at the top level, but without national flags.

"Today it was a very special match for me," the 27-year-old Svitolina said.

"I’m in a very sad mood, but I’m happy that I´m playing tennis here. I was focused. I was on a mission for my country," she said.

"From the beginning, it was important to be ready for anything that comes my way."

Svitolina is a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist with 16 career tour-level singles titles who has been ranked as high as No. 3 and is currently No. 15.

"All the prize money that I´m going to earn is going to be for the Ukrainian army," said Svitolina, who won this tournament in 2020. The Monterrey Open has $31,000 in prize money for the champion.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its eighth day on Thursday, with a huge convoy of Russian tanks and armored vehicles on a road to the capital, Kyiv, and fighting intensifying there and in other big cities.

(With Inputs From AFP)



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