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Ukrainian tennis stars take up arms against Russia's invasion

It's not the type of match they're used to, but three of Ukraine's most famous tennis stars — Sergiy Stakhovsky, Andriy Medvedev, and Alexandr Dolgopolov — have joined the forces fighting to defend the country from Russia's unprovoked invasion, The New York Times reports Friday.

Dolgopolov, 33, who retired last year following a wrist injury, said he trained in Turkey before traveling back to Kyiv this week, per the Times. The player announced his decision to fight on Wednesday.

"I am not Rambo in a week, but quite comfortable with the weapons," he said in a statement. "This is my home, and we will defend it!"

Medvedev, 47, was a top men's singles player in the 1990s, while Stakhovsky, 36, retired from professional tennis in January. He was on vacation in Hungary with his family when the war broke out, and left them so he could return home, per the Times.

"I don't have the words to describe it. I would never imagine in my life that it would come to this — that I would be in my home city … with a gun in my hands," Srakhovsky told The Associated Press this weekend. He initially announced his decision to join his country's army at the beginning of March.

"I know that it is extremely hard on my wife," Stakhovsky said on BBC Radio 4 Today, per Sports Illustrated. "My kids don't know that I'm here. They don't understand war. They're too little to understand what's going on."

Other Ukrainian athletes to have taken up or have vowed to take up arms include boxers Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko, and former heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the latter of which is now the mayor of Kyiv, Reuters reports.