TURIN, Italy — When professional tennis took a few minutes on Friday Night at the ATP Tour Finals in Honour of a Few of One of the players who announced their retirement this year was one of these players of They wore military fatigues as they walked onto the Pala Alpitour stadium’s court.
That was it! Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, whose retirement journey has been different than all others.
Stakhovsky’s tennis career, which included eight ATP singles and doubles titles and an appearance at the 2012 Olympics, came to an abrupt end in February when he became a soldier. StakhovskyAt the time, he didn’t know anything about firing stingers, throwing grenades, or shooting guns. Now, after much spending of He has spent the last months at the frontlines in eastern Ukraine and he knows a lot.
“Everybody out there is tired,” He said on Friday night after the ceremony, in reference to Ukraine’s forces, who know that even as they make gains, Russia continues to kill civilians and hit infrastructure targets. “A lot of Ukrainian soldiers are dying, and I guess that’s the only things that we think about while we’re doing it.”
In recent months, he has patrolled and helped clear Ukraine’s recaptured cities. His next rotation is in the eastern Donetsk. on Dec. 18.
It is an existence that has little in common with the rarefied life he led before, traveling the world to play tennis and operating his winery, in Zakarpattia, near Ukraine’s western border, where he cultivated merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and other grape varieties.
The memory of his earlier life is rarely in his thoughts. Stakhovsky He said that he is still in touch with Elina Svitolina, a professional player who provides support and seeks news from the battlefield. The majority have moved to other countries to pursue their career and send financial messages. of Help back home
“I think it’s harder when you’re out,” He said of They are looking for scraps from those who left. of information, concern for family and friends, struggle to adjust to war as an option of life. “Unfortunately, our body, the human being, we can adapt to do everything. So you adapt to shelling. You adapt to fear.”
As Andrey Rublev spoke. of Russia was invited to take part in the Stefanos Tsitsipas court game of Greece. Deniil Medvedev of Russia had played Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the afternoon.
Stakhovsky Others from Ukraine said that Russian or Belarusian players should not be allowed to compete during the war. Professional tennis has not gone to that extent, banning these countries from team competitions and removing all symbols of Flags of their countries.
Sports leaders believe it unfair to hold Russian- and Belarusian athletes responsible. of Their governments and while Stakhovsky Recognizes this point of He believes that the silence of most Russian players is shameful. Rublev is the only male player who has publicly pleaded for peace and supported criticism of The war.
“Predominantly, all the Russian athletes or Russian tennis players are silent, and they are neutral and they say that, you know, ‘it’s politics for me,’” Stakhovsky said. “It’s not politics. It’s a war.”
He said that history, and perhaps even their children will judge them.
“At the end of the day, when the war will be over and the questions will be asked by their kids or anybody, ‘What have you done for it not to happen? What you have done for it to stop?’ they will not be able to answer that question, because they’ve done nothing,” Stakhovsky said. “They’ve been silent, and they have done nothing.”