Sergiy Stakhovsky and Alexandr Dolgopolov have decided to enlist to defend their country from the Russian invasion; both are registered in the lists of Ukrainian army reservists. The two former tennis players have been engaged on the front for about eight months and in an interview with the newspaper L'Equipe they spoke about the new reality they are forced to live every day.
Stakhovsky explained: "The decomposing bodies that clutter the streets, including destroyed facades, scattered debris, freshly dug trenches and anti-tank obstacles, clothe a town of 70,000 inhabitants once known for its sparkling wines.
Seeing the bodies no longer matters to us. Force of habit. Unfortunately, humans can adapt to anything. So we adapt to shelling. We adapt to fear. And we adapt to death."
Stakhovsky and Dolgopolov: "We adapt to death"
Dolgopolov, for his part, launched a tough attack against the top echelons of tennis: "It was very difficult at first, but if you try to stay strong, it will pass.
If you worry too long, you will end up in a madhouse." Dolgopolov is currently employed as a drone operator in a Ukrainian military intelligence unit and has the goal of signaling the presence of enemies or imminent danger: "I gather information, I give targets to our artillery.
The enemy can be 500 meters or five kilometers away. But I'm sure we will soon have missions where there will be direct contact. I'm ready. Reaction from the tennis world? Many organizations choose dollars by staying on the sidelines, pretending that the Russians have nothing to do with Putin, or even sanctioning those who support the war.
History will judge their actions. The truth is that most Russians support Putin and his war." It's not the first time that Dolgopolov has expressed his harsh judges on the institutions that govern tennis. The famous episode occurred in Cincinnati, when a spectator was expelled for showing a flag of Ukraine during the Russian derby between Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova. In that case, the former Ukrainian tennis player tried to organize a real protest through his social accounts.