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Fighting for Ukraine means more than playing tennis – Alexandr Dolgopolov

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alexandr dolgopolov
Former tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photo/Sky SPorts
  • He says being an armed soldier fighting for his country makes a lot of sense for him
  • Dolgopolov is at the forefront of fighting Russia who invaded Ukraine
  • He doesn’t regret fighting for his country

Former world No. 13 tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov had to put his racquet aside and fight for his country Ukraine.

He says being an armed soldier fighting for his country makes a lot of sense for him more than anything else does.

Dolgopolov is at the forefront of fighting Russia who invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Once a prominent figure in the tennis world, Dolgopolov’s life has taken a drastic turn as he joined thousands of Ukrainians fighting bravely to defend their nation.

Alexandr Dolgopolov Fighting in Ukraine

Dolgopolov, a one-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, retired from professional tennis in 2018. But he found himself thrust into a different kind of battle in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine.

He recently shared his new life in a candid interview with the BBC, about the harsh realities of life on the battlefield.

Reflecting on the challenges he and his fellow soldiers face, Dolgopolov described the intensity of the fighting as an unending danger.

alexandr dolgopolov

Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photo/BBC

He detailed the terrifying moments when incoming rounds would whistle through the air, leaving a brief window of uncertainty before impact.

Dolgopolov’s account portrayed the grim reality of war, where survival is uncertain and the toll on life and limb is significant.

“It has been tough on the battlefield in the last year,” he says.

Russia-Ukraine War

Recalling a particularly harrowing experience, Dolgopolov spoke of mortars landing dangerously close to their position. While they managed to avoid fatalities among their ranks, many were left injured.

“When they are firing and getting really close, you know they know approximately where you are. When the round exits, you hear that and then you have the few seconds where it is flying – it is like loud whistles coming in – and then you feel the impact,” he recalls.

Despite the danger, Dolgopolov has become a symbol of resilience and courage, hailed as a hero by the Ukrainian people. Leveraging his profile, he has used his voice to call for international support.

He has pleaded with world leaders to provide Ukraine with the necessary military resources to defend itself against the well-equipped Russian forces.

In a passionate plea, Dolgopolov highlighted the numerical and technological advantages that Russia holds on the battlefield.

He criticized the international response, stating that the assistance provided thus far is insufficient, both in terms of speed and quantity.

Urging the West to recognize the global implications of the conflict, he emphasized that the struggle extends beyond Ukraine’s borders and requires immediate and decisive action.

“We need armoury and instruments to win this war. At the moment, mathematically we’re not in a good position. On the battlefield, Russia have advantages in most things – more people, more armoury and more artillery rounds.

“Is the world doing enough? I don’t think so. I think it is obvious by now. We are not getting enough, not fast enough, not enough quantity, it is a big war and we need much more. I think the West needs to wake up and understand it’s not just Ukraine’s problem. Actions have to be taken,” he appealed.

alexandr dolgopolov

Alexandr Dolgopolov. Photo/

Has Russia’s Invasion Affected Ukraine?

The war in Ukraine has not only impacted the geopolitical landscape but has also affected the sporting world. Following Wimbledon’s controversial decision to ban Russian players from the 2022 Championships, the ATP and WTA Tour chiefs expressed solidarity with the affected athletes.

Now, as the Paris Olympics approach, tennis faces yet another challenge, as Russian players seek special exemptions to compete due to their exclusion from the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup.

For Dolgopolov fighting on the frontline for the past 22 months; it is a big sacrifice as he says and not just for Ukraine.

He adds that fighting Russia is also a way to save the sports world from the many sanctions some players have been subjected to.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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