‘I can’t spend my life worrying about golf’: How Matt Fitzpatrick’s phone call with Ukrainian tennis star ex-girlfriend in her war-torn homeland gave his life new perspective… three months before his US Open win
- Matt Fitzpatrick recently spoke to his ex-girlfriend, who was born in Ukraine
- She told him about her current family situation in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion
- Fitzpatrick has said that he is trying to put things in perspective after that call
- Last night the new outlook paid off as he scooped the prestigious US Open cup
New English golf superstar Matt Fitzpatrick got a new perspective on the sport thanks to his Ukrainian ex-girlfriend – then powered to US Open history three months later.
The 27-year-old is just the third Englishman since 1924 to win this title after Tony Jacklin in 1970 and Justin Rose in 2013.
His historic win might never have been after a career where Sheffield United fan Matt would be racked with disappointment if he ever lost.
But when he picked up the phone to check up on his ex-girlfriend Deniz Khazaniuk after the war in Ukraine started, he experienced a reset in outlook.
The conversation caused him to rethink his porting mentality and paved the way to his US Open triumph.
Matt explained: ‘She was telling me about her gran who had a couple of strokes recently and can hardly walk, so she can’t go anywhere,.
‘Then she told me about her uncle who had just packed his bags and was off to fight tomorrow.
‘I was sitting there in Florida ready to practise and it hit me, the contrast between the fact he might never come back and what I do.
Matthew Fitzpatrick of England celebrates with the DP World Tour Championship trophy alongside Deniz Khazaniuk in December 2020
Matt Fitzpatrick’s ex Deniz Khazaniuk – who is a tennis player – poses in the sun on the beach
It was a phonecall with Deniz, pictured, that reshaped Matt’s view and helped focus his victory
‘I’d already decided to be a little easier on myself this year and appreciate all that I have but that phone call just emphasised I don’t want to be miserable for the rest of my life worrying about winning golf tournaments.
‘Sure, I want to win but there has to be a balance.’
Deniz – who is a tennis player herself – lives with her family in Lviv, which has been hit badly during the invasion.
Matt added the reality check of what they were going through made him appreciate his own life and ability to play the sport he loves.
Matt Fitzpatrick celebrates with the U.S. Open Championship trophy after his historic win
He even predicted his new worldview might reap rewards at the golf majors.
Matt added: ‘I think 100 per cent I’ve got too worked up about them in the past.
‘The people around me say that I’m different in a major week and while I can’t see it myself it’s something that I need to work on.
‘I feel that I’m a different player now to 2015-18, so hopefully I can relax in the majors and it will start to show.’
After his incredible win last night he was joined on the green by his mum Susan, his father Russell and brother Alex, who turned pro earlier this month.
It was a perfect Father’s Day gift for Russell who looked emotional as it all sunk in.
Matt is the first Englishman to win a major since Danny Willett — also from Sheffield — won the Masters six years ago.