Sergiy Stakhovsky has criticised fellow players that have played in Russia since the outbreak of war in Ukraine ©Getty Images

Former Ukrainian tennis players Sergiy Stakhovsky and Alexandr Dolgopolov are preparing to return to the front lines in the war against Russia as the tennis season begins for 2023.

While male athletes are gearing up for the Adelaide International, which marks the first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) event with a 2023 start date, the pair are saying goodbye to their families following a few days of rest away from the battlefield.

"Seeing bodies doesn't matter to us anymore," Stakhovsky said, as reported by L'Équipe.

"Force of habit, let's say.

"Unfortunately, humans can adapt to anything.

"So we adapt to the bombardments.

"We are adapts to fear.

"And we adapt to death."

Stakhovsky joined the military reserve in Kiev at the start of the conflict last year before being deployed to a unit of mortar shooters.

Dolgopolov also volunteered at the beginning of the war and after spending a week training at a shooting range, the 34-year-old is now a drone operator in a unit attached to the Ukrainian military intelligence.

"At the beginning, it was very difficult, but you try to pull yourself together and stay strong," the former world number 13 told L'Équipe.

Alexandr Dologopolov, pictured, and Sergiy Stakhovsky are preparing to return to war after a break with family ©Getty Images
Alexandr Dologopolov, pictured, and Sergiy Stakhovsky are preparing to return to war after a break with family ©Getty Images

"If it worries you for too long, you'll end up in an asylum."

The pair have criticised tennis' governing bodies, with both the ATP and Women's Tennis Association allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under a neutral banner.

"Russian tennis players are mostly silent, neutral," said Dolgopolov.

"When the war ends and their children ask them, 'What did you do to prevent this from happening?'"

"A lot of organisations choose the dollars by remaining in the background, pretending that the Russians have nothing to do with Putin and not even sanctioning those who support the war.

"History will judge their actions later.

"The truth is that most Russians support Putin and his war."

Stakhovsky has taken aim at Serbian players Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki who recently participated in an exhibition event in Saint Petersburg.

"You have to believe that money can buy everything," he said.

"Take advantage of the cash [...] I prefer to be an 'Instagram clown' who defends his country rather than a whore of Russian money."