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Stakhovsky ‘hopes not to use gun’ after joining fight to protect Ukraine

Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky hopes he doesn’t have to use a gun after joining the fight to protect his country from the Russian invasion.

Stakhovsky, who famously beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013, is the latest Ukrainian sports star to defend his country.

The 36-year-old retired after the Australian Open in January and has returned to Kyiv to take part in the struggle to repel the Russians.

“I know how to use the gun. If I’ll have to, I’ll have to. I pretty much hope that I won’t have to use the gun,” Stakhovsky told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Questioned about the difficulty of leaving his wife Anfisa and children at their home in Hungary, he said: “I’m still not sure how I’ve done it.

“I know that it’s extremely hard on my wife. My kids don’t know that I’m here. They don’t understand war. They’re too little to understand what’s going on.”

Three-weight boxing champion Vasiliy Lomachenko is believed to have joined the fight.

The 34-year-old was photographed wearing military uniform with a rifle across his shoulder in a post on his Facebook page.

World heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who defeated Anthony Joshua in September, is also said to have left London to take part in the war.

Asked by the BBC to confirm whether Usyk had gone to Ukraine to fight, his promoter Alexander Krassyuk said “every Ukrainian joined the defence”.

Britain heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury  saluted Usyk’s decision during a press conference on Tuesday ahead of his fight against Dillian Whyte.

“I would be on the front line if England or the USA got involved (in the war),” Fury said.

“So would my dad and all the boys (the Fury brothers). Love your woman and defend your country.”

Ukrainian heavyweight icon Vitali Klitschko, the current Mayor of Kyiv, will serve in the war.

The 50-year-old’s brother Wladimir has also signed up as a reserve for the territorial forces.

“I am Ukrainian, and I am a fighter,” Wladimir Klitschko said on Monday.

“Our strongest force is the will and desire to live in a free country, and we have chosen the direction we want to go.”

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