Tennis ex-player Dolgopolov vows to defend Ukraine


March 16, 2022

(Reuters) – Former tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov said on Wednesday he traveled home to Ukraine to defend the country after a weapons training session.

The 33-year-old, who won three ATP titles and was ranked 13th, said he was in Turkey with his sister and mother when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began.

“I’ve already started practicing shooting and I was very lucky that a former career soldier taught me for 5-7 days,” Dolgopolov wrote on Instagram

“When I found a few people who were planning to go to Ukraine from the US… we started our journey. Took some bulletproof vests for us and our army, flew to Zagreb… and I drove across Europe and got from Poland to Ukraine, and finally I’m in Kyiv.

“This is my home and we will defend it! With all the people who stayed! I will stay in Kyiv until our victory and after.”

Dolgopolov also posted a picture of a gun and military equipment on Twitter with the caption “Before there was a racket and strings, now this.”

Former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky joined Ukraine’s reserve army last month, while boxers Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko joined the territorial defense battalions.

Former Ukraine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and his brother Vitali, who is now mayor of Kyiv, have both vowed to take up arms against invading Russian forces.

Russia is calling its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” designed not to occupy territory but to destroy its neighbor’s military capabilities and capture what it considers dangerous nationalists.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis) Tennis ex-player Dolgopolov vows to defend Ukraine


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