Elina Svitolina won Wimbledon with the Ukraine War and her baby on her mind. What happened?
Elina Svitolina was a remarkable performer at Wimbledon, not just for her outstanding tennis skills but also because she showed mental strength in the face of the ongoing conflict and pregnancy in Ukraine. Svitolina is admirable for her ability to remain focused and perform well despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and her impending motherhood. This is a testimony to Svitolina’s resilience and determination in order to excel despite the difficult circumstances around her. Svitolina’s win over Iga Swiatek showed her determination to excel in her career despite the challenges she faced.
Svitolina’s mind was likely full of personal and professional thoughts as she stepped on to the grass courts at Wimbledon. Her mind and heart would have been weighed down by the Ukrainian war that has caused so much turmoil in her home country. Svitolina is pregnant with her first child and this would have added to the emotional turmoil. Svitolina, however, channeled her thoughts into focus, determination and astonished the tennis community with her outstanding performance. Her exceptional character is reflected in her ability to compartmentalize, remain mentally strong and achieve success at the highest levels.
WIMBLEDON, England — The last time Elina Svitolina was Grand Slam semifinalist — twice, actually, in 2019 — she was pursuing the usual trappings of success in professional sports: trophies, money, fame, etc.
Svitolina is now playing for more important purposes. For her daughter, Skaï, who was born in October. For her country Ukraine, where the war began in February 2022 with Russia’s invasion. It continues today.
Svitolina believes that the different factors she has to consider do influence the way she uses her racket, and how she reacts in critical moments. She has won so many major titles that she is now one of only four women left at Wimbledon. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek on Tuesday.
“War made me stronger and also made me mentally stronger. Mentally, I don’t take difficult situations as, like, a disaster, you know? There are worse things in life. I’m just more calmer,” Svitolina is 28 years old and was once ranked No. Svitolina, 28, who was once ranked as high as No. 76, after taking a break to have a family.
She returned to tour only three months ago.
“Also, because I just started to play again, I have different pressures,” Svitolina knelt down and covered her face after Swiatek missed a last forehand on Centre Court. “Of course, I want to win. I have this motivation, like huge motivation, to come back to the top. But I think having a child — and war — made me a different person. I look at the things a bit differently.”
She was given a wild card entry by the All England Club in order to enter the field. Now she will compete against another unseeded competitor, 42nd ranked Marketa Vondrousova for a spot in the final on Saturday.
Vondrousova – the 2019 French Open’s runner up – beat Jessica Pegula (fourth seed) 6-4 2-6 6-4 after winning the last five points in the last set, when she was just a point away from being 5-1 down. 1 Court. Pegula lost to a score of 0-6 during the quarterfinals.
“I don’t know what happened,” Vondrousova spoke with a left-handed voice.
The rain stopped both women’s matches on Tuesday. Court roofs were closed so that play could continue. Swiatek took advantage of the rain break to chat animatedly with her sports psychologist who was sitting in the audience, before heading to the off-court lounge for a huddle with the coach.
None of that helped her figure out what was wrong with her spin-heavy forehand, which accounted for 57 total errors — 28 unforced, 29 forced — and 22 winners.
Swiatek felt a change in Svitolina’s style of hitting balls over the Centre Court Net. Swiatek had just won her fourth Grand Slam at the French Open. This included a stretch in which Svitolina scored 20 out of 22 points between the end of the 1st set and the start of the 2nd.
“She played with more freedom and more guts. Sometimes, she really just let go of her hand,” Swiatek, while pantomiming an forehand said. “and she played really, really fast.”
Novak Djokovic reached his 46th Slam semifinal — tying Roger Federer’s record for men — by defeating No. Andrey Rublev was defeated by Djokovic 4-6-6-1-6-4-6-3. He will now face Jannik Sinner, No. 8 Jannik Sinner. Djokovic is seeking a fifth consecutive championship at Wimbledon and an eighth overall — numbers that also would equal Federer — and his 24th career Grand Slam trophy.
Sinner has reached his first major semifinal after defeating Roman Safiullin in a 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-2 match.
“It means a lot me,” Sinner Said “We put a lot of work in — many, many hours off court, a lot of sacrifice — for this moment.”
Svitolina did not anticipate that she would still be alive this long into the second week. Originally, she didn’t plan to return to action until now after giving birth. She and Monfils began working out together in January, and Svitolina made such progress that she changed her original timeline.
She won against Swiatek in addition to her victories against Venus Williams, seven-time major champion, in the first round. Sofia Kenin, winner of the 2020 Australian Open, in the third and Victoria Azarenka, two-time Australian Open champion, in the fourth.
All of this is a matter of great urgency.
“It’s less years that I have in front than behind me. I have to go for it. I don’t have time to lose anymore. I don’t know how many years I will be playing,” Svitolina said. “You practice for these moments, for these big moments.”
What about the moments she has after leaving the court?
On Tuesday, Svitolina FaceTimed with Skaï, who is at home in Monte Carlo with Monfils and the new grandparents.
“She was really distracted with her ice cream, so I was not the priority there,” Svitolina said. “She is still at this age when she doesn’t care if I win, if I lose.”
There are people who really care. It’s a lot.
Svitolina received many messages of support and has seen videos showing children in her home country following her matches.
“This really makes my heart melt, seeing this,” She said “Just happy I could bring a little happiness to the people of Ukraine.”
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