Following his last game as a prominent tennis player, Sergiy Stakhovsky, 36, returned to Ukraine to support his own country amid Russia’s incursion around one and a half months after leaving his spouse and 3 younger kids in Hungary.
“They’re fairly young and I just don’t believe they would understand the meaning of war. And I don’t believe they would understand any of it. My wife knew … but she never asked the direct question, and I never told her directly. So when … I told her ‘I’m leaving,’ she started crying. So there was not really a conversation,” he recounted.
“I don’t know how to put it into words. ‘I would never have imagined that I would be in my old hometown, Kyiv, Ukraine, with a pistol in my grip,’ Stakhovsky told Reporters in a taped interview from a private complex in Kyiv, Ukraine’s troubled capital, on Saturday. As many individuals report, they’re praying it was simply a terrible dream when they get out of bed in the mornings.” He said, “But, you know, by Day 16, (that) no longer works.”
The first few days, it’s bizarre. It’s hard to believe it’s occurring. As time passes, you adjust to the new normal and focus on finding a solution to help your nation survive.
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) March 4, 2022
When Stakhovsky was 12, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in tennis and started dividing his energy between Ukraine as well as the Czech Republic to sharpen his skills. He went professional in 2003 and has already won four solo championships, four doubles championships, and over $5 million in winnings.
He had a career-high ATP rating of 31 in 2010 and reached the third stage of Grand Slam events 6 times. He also stopped Roger Federer’s 36-year run of making the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam competition by defeating him in the second stage at Wimbledon during 2013.
J.J. Wolf defeated Stakhovsky in the first stage of qualification for the Australian Slam in January, and the Russian tennis player decided to retire from the sport. Retiring didn’t go as planned. RUSSIA BEGAN ITS War ON UKRAINE ON FEBRUARY 24TH Stakhovsky landed in Kyiv in the early hours of February 28.
“You’re one second safe. The next second, something flies in, and no one is safe,” he said.
My guarding angel .. pic.twitter.com/2m56KvgSRT
— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) March 6, 2022
Tennis players, trainers, and authorities have sent him thousands of supportive notes, including those from Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet, Novak Djokovic (20-time Grand Slam winner), and Aljaz Bedene among others. Stakhovsky published some of those comments on Twitter.
As part of what he called “a special section of the Ukrainian Armed Services,” Stakhovsky claimed his days are split into two-hour stints alternated by six breaks, which he claimed were formed “a good few years ago to really sustain the structure of the town in the time of conflict, which no one really truly believed in, but sadly did occur.”.
He mentioned he spends a lot of his “off” time doing charitable work.