Elina Svitolina played her last official match on March 24th at the WTA tournament in Miami. The Ukrainian player then decided to take a break even before announcing her pregnancy. The weight of the war waged by Russia in her country has completely changed plans and set new priorities.
Svitolina explained explained in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph: “I felt a mix of different emotions. It was not easy to enjoy the news of the pregnancy right now. When the invasion started, it was extremely difficult mentally to compete and have my family in Ukraine.
It was not easy to handle the situation. My priorities are really to change a lot. I didn’t feel in the right place when I was playing tennis. She was worried about my family. It was difficult for me to focus 100% on work, which is why I wanted to share my point of view.
Now I’m happy to be able to take my time, focus on myself. I want people to know what’s going on – that the war continues – because I feel the media are talking less about it too. It is essential to do everything in my power.”
Svitolina and tennis: “My priorities have changed”
The ATP and the WTA have lined up against Wimbledon and have not welcomed the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players. A position that Svitolina did not like: “I disagree with the press releases drawn up by the ATP and the WTA. I think they should do more with regard to Ukrainian players and towards Ukraine.
We spoke to the WTA, the ITF and the organizers of the Grand Slam tournaments. We explained the situation to them, but they chose to act independently. I was sad to find out their position.
However, I have respect for them and I want to thank the Wimbledon organizers for showing their support to Ukrainian athletes. Silence of some Russian tennis players? They made their choice. The players don’t live in Russia, they train in Europe or the United States.
This is their decision. Many tennis players were not interested in their Ukrainian colleagues, in the situation of their families. This has created tension and discontent. People are dying in Ukraine, we have lost our homes, we no longer have a place to train.
Our families are all in danger. Sport has a great responsibility, because it receives a lot of attention from the media. It can help people understand what is really going on. This is my mission.”