Novak Djokovic has offered retired Ukrainian tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky his support and financial help following Russia’s invasion.
Kyiv-born Stakhovsky, 36, lives in Hungary but has returned to Ukraine to join the army and is currently waiting for the chance to defend his country against Russian soldiers.
The ex-pro says he has spoken to several current and former tennis players about the situation and he now has the backing from the world No. 2.
Stakhovsky posted on Instagram to share a WhatsApp message that he had received from Djokovic.
‘Stako, how are you man? Are you on the field? Think of you, hoping all calms down soon,’ the Serb said.
‘Please let me know what would be the best address to send help, financial help, any other help as well…’.
Speaking to ABC News earlier this week, Stakhovsky said it was ‘one of the toughest decisions’ to join the Ukrainian army.
‘I just had this strong feeling that I have to do it,’ he said. I didn’t really say goodbye to the kids. I just kissed them goodbye, and I said that I’ll be right back. They were watching cartoons and reading books, not really paying attention.
Stakhovsky appeared on Good Morning Britain this week after joining the Ukrainian army
‘If I stayed I would have felt guilt that I left my father and brother in Ukraine.
‘Crossing the border was a tough choice because I knew that’s the point where, you know, you don’t go back.
‘But by driving through Ukraine, driving through the country, seeing all the people coming into groups, doing their own resistance units with hunting guns, barricading the roads, it’s really inspirational.
Novak Djokovic has offered ‘financial help’ to ex-pro Stakhovsky, who is currently in Kyiv
‘I feel I am not prepared enough, that’s for sure. But I guess no one is prepared enough.’
Stakhovsky, who retired from professional tennis at the Australian Open in January, is perhaps best known for beating Roger Federer in the second round at Wimbledon in 2013 and ending the Swiss star’s record run of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals.
He won four career singles titles and four doubles titles and had a career-high singles world ranking of No. 31 in 2010.
Now he is among a number of Ukrainian athletes who have travelled back to their native country to join the resistance effort.
Boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko, a former three-weight world champion, has also joined the territorial forces, while WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world champion Oleksandyr Usyk has been pictured holding a weapon.
Vitali Klitschko, the former WBC and WBO champion, is the mayor of Kyiv and has remained in the capital despite the onslaught from Vladimir Putin’s forces.