Ukrainian journalist and editor
Iaroslava has been involved in journalism from a young age. Starting at the age of 19, she worked at the local television station in Sumy. She served as a video editor and correspondent for various business and entertainment media, and also worked as a correspondent for the "Kyiv" column on the Apostrophe website. Currently lives in Poland, proficient in the Polish language.
Elina Svitolina was unquestionably a fan favourite at this year's Wimbledon.
At SW19, a Ukrainian tennis player was exceptionally added to the team; this way, the team pulled a wild card. Her name is known to every Ukrainian, even those who could be more knowledgeable in sports.
We have collected the most interesting facts about the pride of Ukrainian women's tennis - Elina Svitolina.
She reached the Roland-Garros quarter-finals less than a year after giving birth. She defeated numerous Grand Slam champions, including the legendary Venus Williams and world number one Iga Witek. She not only won her way to the semi-finals, but she also won the fans. Unfortunately, she lost to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic at the last hurdle.
The former world No. 3 returned to tennis after her break in just four months and has since climbed to No. 27 in the WTA rankings. Also, t her foundation's eponymous charity is hosting a junior tennis tournament in Kyiv at the end of this month, and the list goes on and on. Here's everything to catch up to the star tennis player.
1. Ukrainian tennis record holder
Elina Svitolina (born in 1994) is one of the most successful players in the history of Ukrainian sports. Won 17 WTA - Women's Tennis Association singles tournaments. This is a record for Ukrainian tennis, and besides, Svitolina is the tournament's youngest champion in recent years. Also, Elina became the first athlete in the history of Ukrainian tennis to win a medal at the Olympic Games (Tokyo, 2021).
2. She does not shake hands with the Russians.
Svitolina is known for her patriotic views and does not hide the tension between athletes from Russia and Belarus. After the matches, she does not shake hands, take pictures, or smile at competitors from the aggressor country.
“It hurts me that not a single Russian player came to see me. None of them said that they regret what their country is doing to mine…” - says Svitolina to ESPN.
Elina behaves measuredly, correctly, but confidently and decisively. She does not conflict with other athletes and does not speak with them, but all her behaviour shows the position of a patriot of her country. In addition, since 2014, the athlete has refused to participate in games in Russia and interviews with Russian journalists.
In her recent interview with Harper's Bazaar, she showed her feelings about the conflicts of politics and that she feels like any Ukrainian. She added, "People need to understand that sometimes you can't divide politics from sport. They are representing their countries, and I am representing mine in front of the world. My position has to be clear."
3. Manifested against Russia after full-scale aggression
At the time of the full-scale invasion, Elina was in Mexico - where she was supposed to play a match against a Russian. Svitolina refused to play because the ATP, WTA and ITF did not impose sanctions on Russia. She demanded a ban on the Russian flag and the Russian anthem - and it happened. Svitolina entered the court and aggressively destroyed the Russian in two sets.
"I played not only for myself. I play for my country," Svitolina said then.
4. She was raised in a family of athletes.
Elina's mother - Olena Svitolina - is a master of sports in rowing, and her father, Mykhailo Svitolin, was engaged in wrestling. Elina was introduced to tennis by her older brother Julian (born in 1985). The girl was only four years old. At one of the tournaments, businessman Yuriy Sapronov saw the girl, who became her sponsor and paid for her training.
5. Not only tennis
Elina's success is the result of her dedicated training. But in childhood and adolescence, the girl did not only play tennis. Svitolina attended dancing, gymnastics and an acting school, which helped her a lot in later life - for example, "not to trust people", according to her manager.
6. Won the first racket in the world.
At the first "adult" Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Elina triumphantly beat Serena Williams, who holds the world's number one racket title. It was a sensation. However, she did not win the award then, as she lost to the Czech athlete Petra Kvitova in the quarter finals. Instead, in 2021 in Tokyo, Svitolina triumphed already with bronze, becoming the first Olympic medallist in the history of Ukrainian tennis.
7. Takes evening dresses on tennis tours.
When Svitolina goes on a tennis tour, she always takes a pair of evening dresses and her sports uniform. None of her trips are complete without it. By the way, the dresses are modelled by Elina's mother. For an athlete, this is important as a gesture of gratitude to her mother.
8. Loves football matches.
Elina is a real football fan and a frequent visitor to the stands. She once CONFESSED that she supports the English club "Chelsea" because the Ukrainian Mykhailo Mudryk plays in it. And at the match between the Italian clubs "Roma" and "Juventus", SHE RECEIVED A NAMED T-SHIRT with the number 10 from the hands of the legendary footballer Francesco Totti, who played under this number.
9. Invests millions in his favourite sport.
Svitolina said that she would only reduce expenses once she became the first racket in the world. The athlete pays about $400,000 a year to the head coach, fitness trainer, physiotherapist and psychologist. In addition, the tennis player's expenses are transportation, payments to invited coaches, rehabilitation and, of course, taxes. At the end of May, after winning the tournament in Strasbourg, the athlete donated $34,000 in prize money to help Ukrainian children.
10. She is happily married.
Elina recently returned from maternity leave. Last year, the tennis star gave birth to a daughter with her husband, French tennis player Gael Monfils, who was present at the birth with his wife. Gael Monfils, a 36-year-old French tennis star, we noticed that he keeps showing up to witness Svitolina's matches at the 2019 Australian Open. It turns out they were dating, and after two years, the couple married in July 2021. They even have a sweet couple's Instagram account for fans named g.e.m.slife ( Combined initials of the couple).
11. Has its own Charity Found.
In 2019, Elina Svitolina registered her OWN FOUNDATION, the Elina Svitolina Foundation. The tennis star established it to assist and fund young Ukrainian players' tennis careers. She said, "In my opinion, talented young people need full support. Tennis has given me a lot, so now it's my turn to help, share my experience and knowledge, and provide new opportunities for those who are just starting."
However, the charity started helping Ukrainian refugees after Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. In December 2022, Svitolina's organisation had a fundraiser where they raised more than $250,000.
12. She loves good food.
Elina Svitolina does not hide her weakness for delicious food and especially respects Ukrainian cuisine. "Borscht, which my mother prepared, is holy for an athlete."
Once, Elina even wrote on the social network that you could win her love if invited to a Ukrainian restaurant. And the star's day begins with a mandatory breakfast - porridge, scrambled eggs and yoghurt.
13. Has a tattoo that is going to disappear
Svitolina has several tattoos: one of them is the Indian symbol "Om", and the second is "Carpe Diem", which means "seize the day". But in one of the interviews, Elina admitted that this second tattoo somehow disappeared from her skin.
14. She did not betray the Ukrainian flag.
Svitolina was offered to play for different countries but disagreed and always spoke only for Ukraine.
15. She dreams of uniting the community of tennis players.
Svitolina considers it her mission to unite the tennis community around Ukraine. The athlete constantly ensures that athletes supporting the war are not allowed to compete.
"We are united, we continue to fight each on our own front. Ukraine is everyone who joins us," says Svitolina.
The athlete is also the ambassador of the United24 platform, which collects funds to support Ukrainians affected by the war.
16. She has 1,200,000 followers on Instagram
In Svitolina's Instagram, a lot of information is dedicated to Ukraine. In addition, the star shares her personal life and the routine that helps her look and feel healthy.
17. Has its own mascot.
Svitolina takes a toy with her everywhere - a small dog, which she considers her talisman. This talisman has accompanied the athlete everywhere since she was three years old and has not missed a single tournament yet.
18. Dedicated tennis player.
Fame came with challenges to Elina. The girl was always devoted to tennis, and her first coaches remember how she continued to practice her shots after exhausting classes. It was stubbornness and motivation that helped the tennis player achieve success. The athlete identifies this trait with the mentality of the Ukrainian people.
"Ukrainians never give up and never give up on their dreams. They stay strong and keep fighting. I think I've shown it many times. Many things are not given to Ukrainians just like that. Even if you are better at something, you have to work three or four times more. Give 300%. I have a similar attitude", - the tennis player once said in an interview.
19. Wears a pendant with the coat of arms of Ukraine.
The pendant with Ukraine's national coat of arms was made especially for the tennis team, and Svitolina does not part with it.
20. Runs after the ball.
Experts say about Svitolina that she does not have certain chips, such as a powerful serve or a spectacular left-hand shot. But her peculiarity is that she tirelessly moves around the tennis court, as they say - "runs after the ball". Some people criticized her for this, but the athlete does not lack strength and endurance.