When Ukraine’s female tennis player Katarina Zavtska first learned that Russia had invaded her homeland. So she could not lift the racket for more than a week.

Every waking up, she said that her thoughts were consumed with the safety of her family in Ukraine. The Russo-Ukraine War is now in its seventh week. Zavatska is caught in that “crime”. Which he felt for the first time about playing a game. While his family was in constant fear and danger.

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He believes that it is his duty to keep playing tennis.

“What I can do is play tournaments to earn money, send it to my family to help them because nobody in my family has a job right now,” Zawatska said on Tuesday. “Everyone is just home. They have nothing to earn.”

Zavtska and teammates Dayana Yastremska, Lyudmila, and Nadia Kichenok will represent Ukraine in Asheville, North Carolina against the third-seeded United States in the qualifying round of the Billie Jean King Cup this weekend – previously known as the Fed Cup and Women’s Cup. known as the equivalent of Davis Cup.

At the start of the war, Zavatska called every 30 minutes, as she was trying to prepare for a tennis tournament in the United States, the anxiety that surrounded her. “Every day I’m calling my parents, my family, asking them if they’re alive,” Zavatska said. “It sounds very hard, harsh. But it is the truth. This is the reality right now.”

Russia invaded Ukraine for the first time on 24 February. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky told The Associated Press on Saturday he was determined to press for peace despite Russian attacks on civilians. The mayor of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, Vadim Boychenko, said on Monday that more than 10,000 civilians had been killed in the Russian siege of his city and the death toll could surpass 20,000.

This never happened.

Instead, her focus is shifted to relocating Zavatska’s mother and grandmother, and other female family members to a safe haven in France, where she rents an apartment and trains during the off-season. But he lives in Rivne, Ukraine with the male members of his family to defend the country.

“For women to go on without their man, it’s so hard,” Zawatska said. “My cousin, for example, she’s pregnant. I have a niece, she’s almost 5. It’s impossible to be alone in a situation like that because all men have to live.” Meanwhile, Zawatska is fighting her mental battle to focus on tennis.

“The first week (of the war) it was hard to do anything,” Zavatska said. “Surrounded by people who listen to music, who laugh, who lives, who talk – it was impossible. I understand that people have to live, but…”

Ukraine team captain Olga Savchuk said her family is living underground in a bomb shelter in Ukraine as the war continues.

She described her feelings as “explanatory and beyond imagination”.

“It’s like we live in two different realities,” Savchuk said. “Here we are, of course, we have to continue to support our families. (But) sometimes just like eating food, I am thinking of my grandfather and aunt who are in the bomb shelter right now. How can I have a cup of tea now? My family is, like, underground. When I talk about it, my hair goes up. ,

But in some ways, it has become the new normal.

Savchuk said, “You wake up, the first thing you do is check if your family is well, and watch the news.” “We basically do non-stop.”

USA team captain Cathy Rinaldi said the Americans are trying to make the Ukrainian team as comfortable as possible in Asheville this week.

The teams have planned dinner together on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, 10% of the weekend’s ticket revenue is being donated by Global Giving to the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund through the “Tennis Players for Peace” initiative. Billie Jean King, who will be attending Friday’s matches, and her partner Ilana Kloss are also donating $50,000 to Ukraine Relief, and other local sponsors in Asheville.

Every day apart from them, she said, is difficult.

“When you look at tennis, we’re really a true family,” Rinaldi said. “We come together when things are tough. … we are adversaries on the court. But off the court, we are allies and friends. We really care about each other and when times are tough we get together. ,