Elina Svitolina says she is grateful to Wimbledon for the stance they took against Russia and admits she felt the WTA and ITF could have done more to support to Ukrainian players.
In early March, the WTA, ATP and ITF said they were not supportive of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, but allowed Russian players to compete in international events.
Russian players have been competing as neutrals ever since – not under the name or flag of Russia – but that’s not something that has made Ukrainian players too happy.
“All the Ukrainians, we’ve been having roundtables with the WTA, the International Tennis Federation, Grand Slams, explaining the help we need, but they chose to go their separate ways,” Svitolina told The Telegraph. “I was sad to find out they took their position. But I have a lot of respect and want to thank Wimbledon for making players feel supported, as well as Ukraine.”
Svitolina: Not many Russians reached out
When Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukrainian players initially refused to speak out against Russian players.
When they arrived in Indian Wells and didn’t really receive much support from Russian colleagues, that’s when the tension started.
“Tennis players are pretty much living outside of Russia, training in Europe and the States. This is their decision. A lot of players didn’t even come to us to ask how our family were doing. It created tension,” Svitolina explained.
After Miami, Svitolina announced an indefinite break from tennis.
In May, Svitolina announced she and husband Gael Monfils were expecting their first child.
Now, Svitolina is focused on her pregnancy and also on trying to find ways to help Ukraine during their darkest days.
“Our Ukrainian people are dying back home, we lost our homes, we lost our training bases, our families are all in danger. Sport has a great responsibility with a lot of media attention, it helps people to understand what is really going on. This is my mission right now,” Svitolina said.