Sergiy Stakhovsky French Open Roland Garros 2017

‘I hope I can see my wife and kids’ – Sergiy Stakhovsky delivers heartfelt message from war-stricken Ukraine

Ukraine tennis icon Sergiy Stakhovksy shared that he hopes he gets the opportunity to see his wife and kids again, who don’t know he joined the military, so he can apologise for leaving.

As the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on, Ukrainian tennis star Stakhovsky, who famously beat 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, made the tough decision to return to his home country and join the military reserves.

Stakhovsky is one of a number of professional athletes fighting for their nation’s freedom. Double weight class World champion Oleksandr Usyk and heavyweight World champion brothers Vitaly and Wladimir Klitchko have also joined the war effort. Vitaly is also the Mayor of Kyiv.

Meanwhile, WTA World number 15 Elina Svitolina announced she will donate all prize money she earns to the Ukrainian war effort.

In an interview with American news network CNN, Stakhovsky said “I was born here, my grandparents are buried here, and I would like to have a history to tell to my kids.

“Nobody here wants Russia to free them, they (Ukrainians) have freedom and democracy and Russia wants to bring despair and poverty.”

As is the nature of any war, Stakhovsky was forced to make one of the toughest decisions a human can make; fight in a war to protect your home country or remain with your family.

On the dilemma, Stakhovsky said “I hope I can see my wife again some day and apologise.

“It’s impossible to make that call without hesitation. I have a wife and three kids.

“If I would stay home, I’d feel guilty that I didn’t come back [to Ukraine], and now I’m here, I feel guilty that I left them at home.

“Of course, she was mad. She understood the reason for me, but for her, it was a betrayal. And I totally understand why she feels that way.”

Stakhovksy also shared that neither he nor his wife have told his children about his decision to fight. He said “my wife didn’t tell them and I didn’t tell them where I’m going. I guess they’ll figure it out soon.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.