Former Ukraine-ace Sergiy Stakhovsky, who hung up his racquet after his first round qualifying loss to Jeffrey John Wolf at the Australian Open 2022, has joined the military reserve in wake of the Russian attack. He had joined the reserves earlier as well but had only been able to join officially after his nation scrapped the requirements of documentation in an attempt to get as many people as possible to fight against their neighbouring Russia.
“The army opened up the reserves and everybody who is willing to fight, to come in and collect the weapons and be part of the territorial resistance,” the 36-year-old told sky sports.
“There’s plenty of people in them. I’ve actually signed up for the reserves last week on Saturday. I just didn’t have enough documents to sign the contract
“Now they cancelled that procedure and basically everybody who is motivated enough can join,” he added.
Stakhovsky, who had most famously knocked out Swiss maestro Roger Federer from the Wimbledon in 2013, believes that his effort will make a difference to Ukraine’s armed forces. He admitted that he doesn’t have prior army experience but knows how to handle a gun.
“I don’t have military experience, I do have gun experience privately. I don’t see the reason why the majority of our countrymen have to risk their lives to send their families away while they sit back.
“It makes a world of difference to our armed forces I would say. Seeing that they’re not left alone, at least.”
On Thursday, Russia reportedly launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine which included air and missile strikes on military facilities before troops and tanks rolled across borders. The war further intensified on Saturday as Russia pressed ahead into Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv.
However, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenkskyy pledged to defend the country, saying that he will not surrender.
The four-time title winner and Olympian also shared his frustration over lack of support in the last eight years around the ever growing conflict against Russia.
“It’s in the media environment but let’s be realistic here, it’s been eight years of the war with Russia. Whether it was Russia proxies or Russia itself it doesn’t matter. Where was all of this for the eight years?” he asked.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina admitted that the situation has left her sleepless for the last two days. She had recently lost her Qatar Open Round of 64 match against her Czech counter-part Tereza Martincova. “For me I almost didn’t sleep for these 48 hours,” she admitted.
“I cannot even imagine what people are going through when they close their eyes and they hear bombs, when they hear shooting outside their house.”