DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) -Over the past 50 years, the Credit One Charleston Open has brought top tennis players from around the world to Daniel Island. This year’s tournament is happening against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, adding an extra element of stress for the tournament’s two Ukrainian players.

Katarina Zavatska spoke to News 2 about how she is navigating competing in the tournament while a war is being waged on her home country.

Zavatska won her first match Monday morning to advance in the tournament as play was just getting underway. She said she’s proud to compete and represent her family and Ukraine, and that she hopes her playing will bring attention to the situation.

But she said it has been a challenge to prepare and compete while thinking about her family and those suffering from the war back home.

“[I] try to focus as much as I can on tennis an not focus on the news as it’s tough to play and mix it up together thinking about people who are there and you have a blue sky right here and sun and they have rockets over their head. But yeah I will just give my best everyday and I feel like I am in a good shape and I will do my best.”

Zavatska said that if she wins the tournament, she hopes to use the prize money to help get her family out. While her mother and some other family members were able to escape to her apartment in France, her father remains in Ukraine since men of fighting age were not permitted to evacuate. Other family members, including children, remain in Ukraine as well.

“It’s very tough for all the people and I have a little niece she’s there, I have my cousin – she’s pregnant she is four months, yeah four months pregnant,” said Zavatska. “To imagine this is very tough for me because how she can live there, how she can be there and how she can feel all the stress and the baby and I thank God because (it’s) very heavy, very heavy.”

Zavatska’s Ukrainian counterpart, Anhelina Kalinina, also won her match Monday morning to advance to the round of 32.