Young Ukrainian athlete to play tennis in Adana
A professional sports club in the southern province of Adana has accepted a 14-year-old Ukrainian tennis player who ran away from the Russian aggression in his country with open arms to help him continue his passion for the sport in Turkey.
Fedor Zalevsky is currently training in the club’s facilities and has been given accommodation in the club’s guesthouse with his parents.
According to Demirören News Agency’s report, Zalevsky crossed the border and reached Moldova with his family just a day after the Russian invasion that started on Feb. 24.
Since then, the family of four stayed in their relatives’ houses in Romania, Austria, Czechia and Poland for different durations.
However, Zalevsky did not want to break loose from tennis, so he sent emails to many international tennis academies, including the one in Turkey’s south.
“I’m an athlete officially registered to Ukrainian Tennis Federation. I had to flee my country due to the war. We, as a family, are having hard times financially, but I want to continue to play,” he wrote in his email.
“Tennis is a sport I adore, and all my future dreams and plans are related to this love. I want you to give me an opportunity to train in your academy and prove myself,” he added.
As soon as the officials of the Turkish club got the mail, they contacted the family. The father stayed in Romania, but the club brought Zalevsky, his mother and his 6-year-old sister to Adana on March 16.
When asked how they knew a club in Adana, Fedor’s mother, Julia Zalevsky, said, “I took Fedor to Adana for a tennis tournament last year. We have friends in [the neighboring province of] Mersin. They advised this club in Adana.”
Thanking the club officials for “opening their doors to them,” the mother said, “This is a dream come true. We are like living in paradise.”
The young athlete will at least stay in Turkey for six months and participate in tournaments across the country during this period.
“I will then decide based on the circumstances,” Zalevsky noted.
The club officials are also happy to host the young Ukrainian. “Sport means peace and fraternity. We touched a child’s life and will make new contact to touch others,” said Ali Refah Keskin, the president of the tennis academy in Adana.