Monday, February 6

Ukrainian tennis star says he returned to his country to fight Russia so it has “a history to tell to my kids”

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Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky at the Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 27, 2019.
Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky at the Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 27, 2019. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)

Sergiy Stakhovsky, a former Ukrainian tennis pro who left his family to go fight Russia, said he decided to go back to his country because he “would like it to still be on a map.”

Stakhovsky and his wife did not tell their three young children where he was going, but he said he thinks they may figure it out.

“It was not an easy decision. … If I would stay home, I would feel guilt that I didn’t come back. And now that I’m here, I feel guilty that I left them at home,” he told CNN from Kyiv.

Stakhovsky beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013.

“I was born here, my grandparents are buried here. And I would like to have a history to tell to my kids. If I would stay home and Ukraine would fail, then there would be no Ukraine, not even in the history books,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “lies would be transformed into history books,” he said. “The modern history of Ukraine would be nonexistent.”

He said he has had a basic military training class and that “people like me will be the last resort,” but he is also in good health.

When asked if he’d be willing to sacrifice his life for his country, he said:

“This is a question which I don’t have an answer to. I’m not sure that there is one individual who is ready to tell you now whether he’s ready to sacrifice his life. I want to see my kids, that’s for sure. I want to see my wife. That’s my goal. But in a given moment, nobody knows what’s happening.”

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