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He once defeated Roger Federer at Wimbledon. Lately he's been fighting Russian invaders

— Friday, 15 March 2024, 15:45

"We were building a massive project for Ukrainian Olympic team, kind of Team USA, but in Ukraine. And I was honored and pretty much with that task in terms of forming the idea and forming the group of individuals who will be running this project. We were all basically clear to go on March 3rd, 2022 – we were supposed to sign a memorandum between the President, the Minister of Sports and us as an organisation which will be doing it.

On February 24th, we woke up in Dubai. I was on vacation with my kids. I don't know how to describe it – you don't believe what you see on a TV. I have it on a video somewhere – I wake up and I see the Kyiv skyline,
it's still dark and you see the, you know, the light of explosion in the dark, in different directions. And that was, of course, after my parents called me and said that they hear explosions, very close to them. So yeah, it was disbelief. It was pure disbelief", – Sergiy Stakhovsky recalls. 

After a career as an elite tennis champ, a multiple Grand Slam, Davis Cup and Olympics participant Sergiy Stakhovksy had a pleasant life growing grapes and making highly-rated wine in Ukraine's sunny Zakarpattia region. Then Russia invaded and he returned to a new type of elite athleticism as a special forces soldier.

He shares his story with American journalist Joe Lindsley, host of the "Land of the Free" podcast.

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Land Of The Free

American journalist Joe Lindsley, on the ground reporting from Ukraine every single day of Russia's full-scale war, conducts interviews with witnesses of wartime realities and those willing to stand up for the freedom of their land.