Darya Lopatecka left her homeland before the war, and soon after learning of the death of her father, who had to remain in Ukraine. The 19-year-old tennis player found asylum in íčany and received a wild card for the Prague tournament in May. “I cannot ignore what is happening in Ukraine. My heart and soul are there,” he said.
Lopatecka is from Kharkov, but last year he trained in Kiev. “I don’t want to leave. I want to stay and help,” said the youngster. In the end, he couldn’t stay in the capital, but he decided to run away with his mother and younger sister after twenty days of fear and nightmares.
“I woke up at five in the morning to the explosion and didn’t know what was going to happen. I hope it ends soon, but I worry about myself, my family, and my friends. At that moment, I realized it. I will be more helpful than I can be. When I will play tennis and promote the Ukrainian flag in the world,” said the tennis player.
His father remains in Ukraine. He drives the truck, brings aid and medicine.
“It was very hard to leave Dad there. But of course I still hope to see him again soon. Now I know I won’t see him,” Lopatecka said with a new pain in her voice.
Two weeks ago, he came back from the highway in Kharkov, and he wasn’t done. Her heart stopped behind the wheel. From stress and hard work that makes it difficult to sleep.
He now wants to fight it in court. He will get his chance at the 1st LTK Prague Open tournament, which takes place at tvanice in early May. He got a wild card from the organizers.
Lopatecká and his family found a background in the Czech Republic thanks to the help of the tennis club Oáza íčany. The journey from Ukraine takes one and a half days. The first was by train from Kiev to Uzhhorod, where the family was picked up by the director of the íčany club, Eva Slaninková.
“They were so calm that they slept most of the way from eastern Slovakia to Prague,” recalls Slaninková.
“Darya only had a small bag with her. She also had to leave the rocket in Kiev. She barely had any money, but she had determination I’ve never seen in a young girl like that. By the way, she gave us a tip about the easiest place to cross the border. former Slovak tennis player Janette Husárová,” said the director.
Lopatecka is preparing to move to Sweden. There he will train for most of the season. “But he can always come back to us. We will take care of him, my sister and my mother,” Slaninková assured.
Many years ago, Lopatecka was considered a great talent of world tennis. When he moved into the adult category at the age of fifteen, he instantly won his first tournament. In no time, he climbed the stairs directly behind the two hundred elites, but was stopped by a serious knee injury.
“After surgery, it took two years to fully recover. Unfortunately, under the pressure of the environment, I rushed back, so I played with pain. Tennis hurt physically and mentally at that time, because I suddenly lost to a player I beat until last time. didn’t work, I also received a lot of hate messages from fans that I wasn’t ready as a little girl,” the tennis player revealed.
Now he has a tough journey ahead of him. Life has turned upside down, it is difficult to compare with the personal tragedy and situation in his homeland. He hoped tennis would help him.
“It will be a long and difficult journey, but I have a new desire and motivation for it. Although my heart and soul remain in Ukraine,” he said.
He is very grateful for the help of the íčany club and for the wild card to the Prague tournament. “I have no words to thank the organisers. Maybe at least healthy and ready to play as well as possible,” said the tennis player.
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