A professional sports club in the southern province of Adana has accepted a 14-year-old Ukrainian tennis player who fled Russian aggression in his country with open arms to help him pursue his passion for sport in Turkey.
Fedor Zalevsky is currently training at the club’s facilities and has been staying at the club’s guesthouse with his parents.
According to the Demirören news agency report, Zalevsky crossed the border and reached Moldova with his family just a day after the Russian invasion which began on February 24.
Since then, the family of four have stayed at relatives’ homes in Romania, Austria, Czechia and Poland for varying lengths of time.
However, Zalevsky didn’t want to break away from tennis, so he sent emails to many international tennis academies, including the one in southern Turkey.
“I am an athlete officially registered with the Ukrainian Tennis Federation. I had to flee my country because of the war. We as a family are going through tough times financially but I want to keep playing,” he wrote in his email.
“Tennis is a sport that I love, and all my dreams and future plans are linked to this love. I want you to give me the opportunity to train in your academy and prove myself,” he said. -he adds.
As soon as Turkish club officials received the letter, they contacted the family. The father remained 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] Mersina. They advised this club in Adana.
Thanking club officials for “opening their doors to them”, the mother said: “It’s a dream come true. We are like living in paradise.
The young athlete will stay at least six months in Turkey and will participate in tournaments across the country during this period.
“I will then decide depending on the circumstances,” Zalevsky noted.
Club officials are also happy to welcome the young Ukrainian. “Sport is synonymous with peace and brotherhood. We have touched a child’s life and will make new contacts to touch others,” said Ali Refah Keskin, President of Adana Tennis Academy.