Elina Svitolina admits "everything was a big mess" when Russia invaded Ukraine as the Ukrainian tennis star was kind of lost and didn't know what to do and how to continue with her life. On February 24th, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Svitolina, who was born in Odesa, wasn't at home at the time as she just concluded her Dubai campaign and was preparing to play in a tournament in Mexico. “Everything was a big mess at that time. No one really tells you how to act, how to continue living your life," Svitolina told Forbes.
Svitolina was evidently not feeling good and she took a break
In her first match since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Svitolina met a Russian player. In the Monterrey first round, Svitolina beat Russia's Anastasia Potapova 6-2 6-1.
In Monterrey, Svitolina reached the quarterfinal before losing to Camila Osorio. Then, Svitolina competed in Indian Wells and Miami, where she picked up surprise opening losses to Harriet Dart and Heather Watson, respectively.
After those two losses, Svitolina decided to take a break from tennis as she admitted in her statement at the time that she wasn't in the best place to compete. Then in May, Svitolina announced she was pregnant. In April, Svitolina returned to tennis after 13 months.
Svitolina, who made the Wimbledon semifinal and has had a successful post-pregnancy comeback, is drawing inspiration from the people of Ukraine. “Each time I have some tough situations, I try to remind myself of what my friends, my family, are dealing with in Ukraine, the horrible situations.
I have to be grateful for the moments I get right now, playing big tournaments in front of so many people. As Billie Jean King says, ‘pressure is a privilege.’ I take it this way. I feel like I have a mission right now," Svitolina explained.