Sergiy Stakhovsky retired from professional tennis just a few weeks ago and is already ready to trade a racket for a gun.
He was on a family vacation at the time of the Russian occupation and plans to return to Kiev to fight after he has secured his wife and children in Hungary.
“Of course I fight, that’s the only reason I’m trying to come back,” said Stakhovsky, who reached #31 in the world on career singles and won four ATP Tour titles.
More explosions heard in Kiev as troops enter capital – live updates
“I joined the reserves last week. I don’t have military experience, but I do have firearms experience specifically.
“My father and brother are surgeons, they are stressed but I talk to them often – they sleep in the basement.”
The 36-year-old athlete breaks down several times during the interview talking about her father and brother, who are both doctors in Kiev.
It calls on the people of Europe to protest the Russian occupation wherever and whenever possible.
“For our armed forces at least they are not alone in a media setting, but let’s be real here, it’s been eight years of war with Russia, eight years where has all this been?
“None of us believed it could happen, but it did happen anyway.
“None of the European or world leaders is ready to help, maybe to fight in Ukraine for a better Europe in the future, because once Ukraine is lost we will resist.
“But let’s be realistic, Russia is 140 million [population] It will be very difficult to resist this much in a country stretching from Europe to Alaska. »
Read more: What’s going on and where is Ukraine being attacked?
It has multiplied in the last 24 hours with the lifting of sports sanctions Champions League final Petersburg’s Manchester United are leaving Aeroflot as a £40m sponsor and Poland refuses to play against Russia in the World Cup play-offs.
But Kiev-born Stakhovsky wants the sport to go even further, as he believes it will hurt Vladimir Putin.
“He is proud of sports, he is proud of Russia.
“At the Winter or Summer Olympics they are always in the top three teams and spend billions of dollars on the sports industry.
“Of course it will hurt him. It will damage his personality. Failing to show the great Russian nation to the world will damage the imperial logic. »
A tennis player spends two nights in the bunker.
Meanwhile, another Ukrainian professional tennis player, Dayana Yastremska, who is ranked 120th in the world, said she spent two nights in an underground parking lot in the southern port city of Odessa.
On social networks, she posted a photo of her consoling her younger sister. They had to leave the country.
She wrote on Instagram: “My parents have decided to send me and my little sister from Ukraine at all costs! Parents, we love you so much, take care!!! I love you my country! Ukrainians look at your life. »