The Ukrainian wildcard taking Wimbledon by storm: How married mother-of-one Elina Svitolina born by Black Sea where her grandmother is trapped by Putin’s bombs embarked on career that could carry her to SW19 final.

  • Luke L 
Elina Svitolina

Svitolina’s Sensational Wimbledon Run Continues


Unseeded Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina achieved a stunning victory on Tuesday at Wimbledon, defeating world No. 1 Iga Świątek in a thrilling Centre Court match. The three-set battle ended with Svitolina emerging victorious with a score of 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, propelling her into the semifinals of the tournament. Svitolina’s remarkable journey at SW19 includes impressive wins over four grand slam champions, namely Venus Williams, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka, and Świątek. This achievement equals her best performance in a grand slam event, matching her semi-final appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019.


Overwhelmed by her triumph, Svitolina expressed her joy and gratitude during her on-court interview. She confessed to being unable to comprehend the moment, stating, “I don’t know what is happening right now in my head, but just I’m really, really happy that I’ve got this chance to play here again and for playing this great match in a great atmosphere. It was really an unbelievable feeling for me.” Svitolina acknowledged the difficulty of playing against Iga Świątek, praising her opponent’s skill and character. She also commended Świątek for her support of Ukrainian people during challenging times, making the match emotionally challenging for both players. Svitolina concluded by expressing her pride in her performance and thanking the crowd for their unwavering support.


Svitolina’s Light-hearted Post-Match Remark and Reflection


In a light-hearted moment, Svitolina shared her immediate plan after the match, humorously stating that she would “have a beer.” This response drew immense cheers from the Centre Court crowd, reflecting Svitolina’s joyful and carefree demeanour. Reflecting on her journey at Wimbledon, Svitolina admitted that if someone had told her at the beginning of the tournament that she would reach the semifinals and defeat the world No. 1, she would have considered them crazy.


Świątek’s Reaction and Improvement at Wimbledon


Iga Świątek, the world No. 1 from Poland, was left astonished by Svitolina’s accuracy and power in the third and deciding set of their match. While Świątek may be disappointed with her exit at the quarterfinal stage, her performance this year marks an improvement compared to her previous best at Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round in 2021. With each passing year, Świątek demonstrates more comfort on the grass court, which is the only surface she has not won a senior title on.


Svitolina’s Next Challenge: Facing Markéta Vondroušová


Svitolina’s next opponent in the Wimbledon semifinals will be the unseeded Czech player Markéta Vondroušová. Vondroušová caused an upset earlier on Tuesday by defeating world No. 4 Jessica Pegula. The clash between Svitolina and Vondroušová promises to be another thrilling encounter in their quest for a place in the Wimbledon final.


Elina Svitolina, an unseeded player from Ukraine, has captivated the spectators at Wimbledon with her glamorous and feisty style of play. Her impressive performances include defeating Venus Williams in the first round, propelling her to the semifinals and potentially setting up a final showdown against her Belarusian rival, Aryna Sabalenka.


Svitolina’s Strong Support for Ukraine and Opposition to Russia


Amidst the turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Svitolina has rallied around her compatriots and expressed admiration for the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky. She has taken a principled stance by refusing to shake hands with any Russian or Belarusian players due to the ongoing conflict backed by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. This decision led to an extraordinary moment where Victoria Azarenka, a player from Belarus, was booed off the court after being defeated by Svitolina in a match. Svitolina’s unwavering support for Ukraine and her refusal to engage with players from Russia and Belarus have garnered both praise and controversy.


Azarenka booed off the court


Azarenka claimed the Wimbledon crowd who booed her off the court following her match with Svitolina were ‘drunk on Pimms’, as Svitolina called her supporters ‘amazing’. Azarenka received jeers from spectators as she began to leave following her fourth-round loss, prompting her to bang her fists together in a dismissive gesture. She hit out at the ‘unfair’ behaviour at a press conference after and accused fans of being drunk. But giving her own reaction, Svitolina said: ‘I heard a lot of Ukrainian people in the crowd so that was really special. The crowd was amazing, it was one of the best atmospheres that I ever played in.’


Born to a Jewish family in Odessa, Ukraine, Svitolina’s interest in tennis was sparked by her brother Julian, who began training in the sport when she was just four years old. Recognizing her talent, the family moved to Kharkiv, and Svitolina received support from businessman Yuriy Sapronov to train and prepare for international tournaments. Despite giving birth to her first child, Skaï, with French tennis player Gaël Monfils just nine months ago, Svitolina has made an impressive comeback to professional tennis. Svitolina’s experience of motherhood and her commitment to supporting her compatriots during the war have transformed her both as a person and as a player.


Svitolina attributes her remarkable resilience and mental fortitude to her experiences during the war and becoming a mother. She views challenging situations differently, understanding that there are more significant issues in life than tennis. Svitolina’s role as a mother and her dedication to bringing happiness to her war-torn country have shaped her perspective and motivated her to excel on the tennis court.


Svitolina’s Unforeseen Success and Changed Outlook


Svitolina’s unexpected success at Wimbledon has surprised even herself. Initially, she had low expectations and had even purchased tickets to attend a Harry Styles concert, assuming her tournament would end early. However, her incredible performances and continued victories have shattered her own predictions. Svitolina acknowledges that her journey to the finals is far from guaranteed but emphasizes her motivation and responsibility when facing opponents from Russia and Belarus.


Maintaining her unwavering focus, Svitolina prioritizes her routine and remains determined to continue her successful Wimbledon campaign. After her win against Świątek, Svitolina made a FaceTime call to her husband, Gaël Monfils, who is taking care of their daughter along with their mothers. Svitolina shared a heart-warming anecdote about her daughter being distracted by ice cream during the call. With her dedication and purpose, Svitolina aims to seize the Wimbledon title and bring happiness to her war-affected country.


The combination of becoming a mother and supporting her compatriots during the war has transformed Svitolina both as a person and as a tennis player. Her experiences have given her a different outlook and mental strength, enabling her to cope with pressure and difficult situations. Svitolina’s focus on bringing joy to her war-torn country has imbued her game with a sense of purpose and power. With each victory, she further strengthens her resolve to make a positive impact and leave a lasting legacy

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