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‘A Difficult Choice Between My Family And My Country’ – Ukrainian Tennis Star on the Valiant Move to Defend his Nation

Published 04/20/2022, 8:30 AM EDT

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The Ukraine-Russia conflict has triggered global affairs and geopolitics. It has thrown the world into a constant state of worry and has been the reason for life-changing decisions for many. Sergiy Stakhovsky, a former Ukrainian tennis player too has now ditched racquets and balls for guns and bullets. He has left his home and family to defend his nation in the current geopolitical and tense circumstances. However, he is not the only one. There have been other Ukrainian athletes as well who have left their safe zones to defend their country.

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Sergiy Stakhovsky in Ukraine


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Sergiy Stakhovsky has gone off to Ukraine leaving his family. He said, “I would like to have this history to tell to my kids. If all of us stayed back home, then Ukraine would fail. This is a war which decides whether Ukraine exists or not. I want to do everything I can.” 

The player retired after the Australian Open 2022. He is most famous for his taking down Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013. Sergiy has made his stance clear on the ban of Russian players.


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 He said, “Maybe it’s unfair (to ban Russian players from the tour), but there’s no other method of stopping Russia… They need to be accountable… and the only way to make it happen is to make Russians feel guilty and make them rethink who’s governing them.” Other Ukranian players, Alexandr Dolgopolov, has also raised his voice against the tennis authorities because they had allowed the Russian players to play on various tours.

Russia-Ukraine conflict

Sergiy spoke of his return to Ukraine with media from India, and the BBC, Sky News, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and others. He recalled his departure from his family, where his wife was angry with him for leaving. When his kids were watching tv, he left.
He said, “I couldn’t forgive myself if I stayed. Now I can’t forgive myself, now that I’m here. I had to make a difficult choice between my family and my country.”



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WATCH THIS STORY: Top five moments of Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo Masters 

The world is getting divided and though there have been attempts to stall the invasion, Russia has continued with its aggressive advance. We wish for the world to be in a peaceful state and resume fair play and healthy competition in every sport.

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Written by:

Shivali Sharma


One take at a time

Shivali Sharma is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. She has pursued her Master's in history from Himachal University, but her love for the game has driven her to write about tennis. Shivali is a huge fan of Naomi Osaka and admires Osaka not only for her on-court performances, but also for her off-court actions.
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Edited by:

Deepakshi Chaudhary