Ukraine Tennis Star Sergiy Stakhovsky Drops Racket, Picks Up Rifle to Repel Russian Invaders
Ukrainian tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky has set aside his tennis racket to pick up a gun by joining Ukraine’s military reserves to do his part to repel the Russian invaders.
The 36-year-old four-time ATP Tour title winner said on Saturday that he had paused his athletic career to return to his home and fight for his people, according to Reuters.
Stakhovsky added that the war has been stressful for his family in Ukraine. “My dad and brother are surgeons, they are stressed out, but I speak to them frequently — they sleep in the basement,” he said.
Stakhovsky also jumped to social media to encourage his fellow Ukrainians.
“I am proud of @ukraine_defence I am proud of @national_guard_of_ukraine I am proud of my president @zelenskiy_official I am proud of every Ukrainian. I am proud to be Ukrainian.
Believe in our military … believe in our invincibility. Glory to Ukraine,” he wrote on Instagram in his native language.
Stakhovsky joins Hall of Fame boxers, and brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have announced that they also aren’t going to sit by doing nothing in the face of Russia’s attacks.
Vitali is also currently the mayor of Kyiv, and he said he intends to fight on the frontlines.
“I don’t have another choice, I have to do that. I’ll be fighting,” the 50-year-old mayor said, according to Reuters, adding, “I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people.”
Both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko – sons of a Major General in the old Soviet Air Force – made millions as heavyweight boxing champs. They could be safely living anywhere in the world. Instead they are in their native Ukraine vowing to take up arms and fight Russia. Heroes. pic.twitter.com/H94QLWz5bx
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 25, 2022
Wladimir also said he would fight for his country. The former champion and Olympic gold medalist joined Ukraine’s reserve forces to do just that.
“The Ukrainian people are strong. And it will remain true to itself in this terrible ordeal. A people longing for sovereignty and peace. A people who consider the Russian people their brothers,” he wrote on his social media.
“It knows that they basically do not want this war. The Ukrainian people have chosen democracy,” he said, adding, “But: Democracy is a fragile regime. Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone. Basically, there is no democracy without democrats,” he said.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston