Elina Svitolina not only suffered firsthand the horrific consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine It’s been almost a year now: her professional career was never able to recover from a setback that accompanied her for the few tournaments she played in 2022. In a matter of months, her life changed completely: she preferred to focus on raising her new family, the one formed together still Gael Monfils who does not take his eyes off the daughter they had together, leatherette. Meanwhile, his greatest efforts are also focused on helping his country to recover from the devastating consequences of the war, organizing different solidarity events to raise money while tennis recedes from the spotlight. Now, as she confessed in an interview with the New York Times, Elina is once again thinking about a return to tennis while continuing to suffer from the ordeal of her country.
2022, a year of enormous contrasts
“It’s funny: the most horrible year due to the war has also been the happiest year. We welcomed our first baby in October. It was a mix of everything, but now we are here, and for me the most important thing is to do as much as possible every day. Today, the goal is that the Ukrainian population can have a little light in their lives.”
The sadness that war generates in her
“Here in Europe I have been asked a couple of times if the war is still going on in the Ukraine. For me, this has been very hard to hear. I have very close friends and family in the Ukraine, and I know what they are going through. Right now , winter is very hard for all of us. It is very cold and sometimes they find themselves without hot water or electricity. My grandmother lives in Odessa, on the 13th floor, and she needs to climb all the stairs because she can’t use the elevator. Sometimes there isn’t even electricity. I have several friends in different cities and their stories are the same: there is no electricity, there is no water, they are just sitting at home. On many occasions their cell phones die a day later and you can no longer connect with them” .
What happened to his temporary retirement from tennis?
“I couldn’t touch a racket for seven months. I wanted to disconnect completely from tennis. I got fed up with everything that happened at the end of February, I felt too much nerves, too much pressure. The tournaments I played were too much for me on a mental level, so I It made me very happy to be able to disconnect completely. Right now, the goal is to return, but I am convinced that I will not regret taking this break. I will try to be ready for the summer, but I do not want to rush things. I need to be very strong to get back on the circuit because tennis is very physical right now. All your muscles need to be ready, and after not playing for seven months and not doing much post-pregnancy, your body is clearly different. I need to break it all down small parts to gather all the strength of my body, something I must do if I want to return to the elite.”
“In shock” by the fines of the ATP and WTA to the British Federation (after their decision to exclude Russians and Belarusians from Wimbledon)
“I was shocked to see all this. The UK has always supported the Ukrainians, they have helped so many refugees find a new home. I think the circuits should respect the Wimbledon decision instead of punishing it, but it is difficult to find something that will make them change your position, no matter how much you disagree or don’t understand it”.
The devastating consequences of the war for the sport of his country
“Our athletes and our sport have gone back about four or five years: stadiums and infrastructure have been destroyed. Once the war is over, I would like to help build a tennis center that children can use for training. I think that our children, moreover, have suffered enormously mentally, not only the infrastructures have been destroyed. Many of them have lost their parents, some are homeless; they see explosions, shootings. There is an entire generation that is going to suffer a lot mentally “.