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New-Father Stakhovsky With A Point To Prove

The Queen's Club, London, England

Stakhovsky© Getty ImagesSergiy Stakhovsky stunned Roger Federer in the Wimbledon second round last year.

It’s coming up to 12 months since then-World No. 116 Sergiy Stakhovsky recorded the biggest win of his career at Wimbledon, felling seven-time champion Roger Federer in the second round on a stunned Centre Court. 

While the Ukrainian cherishes the memory of one of tennis’ biggest upsets, he is eager to prove during the 2014 grass-court swing that it was not a flash in the pan.

“It was great. It was a great atmosphere,” remembered Stakhovsky, as he took a break from a game of chess with countryman Alexandr Dolgopolov in the Aegon Championships player lounge after his first-round win over Daniel Brands on Monday at The Queen’s Club. 

“I had never played in such an atmosphere. Never played in front of 15,000 people. I felt that they pulled more for Roger, but they were supportive in both ways. It felt great, but unfortunately I couldn’t build on that win in the next round.”

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Indeed, less than 48 hours later, Stakhovsky’s own Wimbledon campaign had ended in defeat to Jurgen Melzer out on Court 3. 

“I definitely made a lot of mistakes after my match with Roger,” admitted Stakhovsky. “Too much press, too much stress about everything. It took a lot of energy out of me and maybe that’s the reason why I lost. But I definitely wouldn’t trade that win for anything.

“It will be special [going back to Wimbledon],” continued the right-hander, who claimed one of his four ATP World Tour titles on grass at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2010. “For me, playing on grass is always special. I really enjoy it, I’ve won a title on it; so I should be not bad on it. Hopefully I will prove in the next two to three weeks that it’s possible.”

While he plots his grass-court success during the next four weeks, the 28-year-old Stakhovsky will be receiving daily photos of his newborn daughter, Taisia – born 28 March, who will stay at home with his wife, Anfisa, during Wimbledon.

Stakhovsky“I think it’s the best thing that can happen in life, to have children,” beamed Stakhovsky. “It’s hard to describe. It’s been two and a half months already, but you re-evaluate everything you’ve done in your life. Your goals just suddenly shift, because you understand that the priority is somewhere else.

“[Being away from the family] is a new challenge, I would say. There’s always been some challenges in travelling a lot, being away from my wife and being away from home. Now it’s another one. Once you get used to one thing, something else comes along. 

"I’m trying to cope with it. I’m trying to get as many images of our daughter as I can every day. But every time I go home for a few days, she’s changed so much. I’m missing out on a big part of her life right now.”

New father; Top 100 tennis player; ATP Player Council member since 2012. Just how does Stakhovsky keep so many plates in the air?

“It’s not fun when you don’t have challenges,” said the Kiev native. “I believe the more work you do, the better you get in any aspect. You are becoming better as a person. I’m trying to do what I can. But of course, the priority is to play tennis. That is what puts food on the table for my family. That’s what I like and what I love to do. I try to do the best I can at it.”

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