Former Ukrainian tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov sent a strong message against the Russian army, saying they're only "capable of killing and injuring civilians." Dolgopolov, a former world No. 13, retired from professional tennis last year.
Dolgopolov, a former three-time ATP champion, is currently in Kyiv. Dolgopolov enlisted in the Ukrainian army to defend his country. "Only thing Russian army is capable of, is killing and injuring civilians," Dolgopolov wrote on Twitter.
Dolgopolov: I might kill or get killed
After Sergiy Stakhovsky returned to Ukraine to join the Ukrainian army, Dolgopolov did the same.
Both Stakhovsky and Dolgopolov thought defending the country was the right thing to do. "Maybe I’ll be killed. Maybe I have to kill. What can I say? This is war," Dolgopolov said. "This has gotten to a magnitude where Russia is really threatening world war and the death toll is very high—tens of thousands of people.
Russian soldiers. The Ukrainian soldiers. Ukrainian civilians. They are getting murdered, thousands of them." When it became evident that Russia was going to invade Ukraine, Dolgopolov sent his mother and sister to a safe place in Turkey.
In the meantime, Dolgopolov learned how to shoot with the help of a former military guy. "By that time I already started practicing shooting, and I was very lucky, that an ex professional soldier teached me for 5-7 days.
They were really happy to help, once they heard my goal, big thanks to our friends from Turkey," Dolgopolov wrote in a message posted on his Instagram. "I'm not Rambo in a week, but quite comfortable with the weapons, and can hit the head three out of five times, from 25 meters in a calm, practice environment."
Meanwhile, the governing bodies of tennis have taken action against Russia. Russia has been banned from competing in team events such as the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. Russian athletes have been allowed to continue competing in international events but they do not compete under the name or flag of Russia.