Ukrainian tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky has enlisted in his country's military reserve as Russia continues its invasion, he said.
Stakhovsky, who has had career wins over Roger Federer (2013) and Novak Djokovic (2002), said on Saturday he was going to fight for his country despite lack of military experience, according to Reuters. The 36-year-old said he has "experience with a gun privately."
"Of course I would fight, it's the only reason I'm trying to get back," Stakhovsky told Sky News.
“My dad and brother are surgeons, they are stressed out, but I speak to them frequently — they sleep in the basement,” he added, Reuters reported.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
"None of us believed that this could happen, and yet it happened."
In an Instagram post, Stakhovsky said he was proud of the military personnel and Ukraine's President Zelenskiy.
“I am proud of @ukraine_defence I am proud of @national_guard_of_ukraine I am proud of my president @zelenskiy_official. I am proud to be Ukrainian. Have faith in our military.. have faith in our unbreakable bond. Glory to Ukraine," he said, according to an English translation.
Another Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina has spoken out saying she feels "heartbroken" for her friends and family back in her home country.
In an interview with Eurosport, the 27-year-old said she feels "useless" from a distance but reveals she plans on donating her prize money from recent tennis events to Ukraine.
“It's really tough to find words how to explain what's happening," Svitolina said.
“Really until the very last moment we did not believe that this war would actually start and then everything just happened at night and everything started. Everyone is terrified, everyone is heartbroken.
Svitolina said she still has many friends and family who remained in the Eastern European country and have joined the effort to defend Ukraine.
“My family is there. Lots of my friends who didn't leave the country are there. They are fighting for their life, some of them are fighting for our country. It takes a lot of courage and it's unbelievable that some people actually took weapons in their hands and went to fight for our land.
“I have my parents there, I have my grandmother, I have my uncle, my aunt. I try to talk with them quite constantly because it's really important to keep the contact with them, how I can help them.
“The most painful thing I would say is that I feel completely useless because I want to help them. I want to do something for them.
“Some of my friends are without electricity, without water, without food. They are really struggling,” Svitolina said.
Click here for complete coverage of the crisis in Ukraine.