Alexandr Dolgopolov. (Photo by NurPhoto/Getty Images)
Retired Ukrainian tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov has returned home to take up arms and defend his hometown of Kyiv from Russian invasion.
“Early racket and strings, now this” he wrote in a social media post alongside a photo of the rifle, helmet and flak jacket.
“Hello Kyiv, I’m back to help where I can and defend our homeland,” the 33-year-old, who rose to the highest rank of 13 in 2012, told his Instagram followers.
Dolgopolov’s playing career ended in May 2021 after a recurring wrist injury with three ATP Tour titles to his credit.
He said he has returned to support Ukraine’s fight after being taught how to fight “with a former career soldier” on a visit to Turkey, where he had taken his mother and sister with him for safety gun handles.
“I’m not Rambo in a week but quite comfortable with guns” he wrote.
“This is my home and we will defend it.”
Dolgopolov joins a string of Ukrainian sports personalities to take up arms against Russia.
Former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, who defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, has signed up for his country’s military reserves.
Others answering their country’s hour of need include two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing Vasiliy Lomachenko and world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who returned to fight as soon as the invasion began.
Former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko is mayor of Kyiv and told AFP before the war started he was ready to fight.
The 50-year-old’s brother, Vladimir, also a former heavyweight champion, has also volunteered for the resistance.
Former Ukrainian tennis star Dolgopolov swaps racquets for gun to defend Kyiv
Source link Former Ukrainian tennis star Dolgopolov swaps racquets for gun to defend Kyiv