Elina Svitolina gets candid on what she realized during pregnancy

Svitolina hasn't yet accomplished her biggest tennis dream but she has still had a very successful career.

by Dzevad Mesic
Elina Svitolina gets candid on what she realized during pregnancy
© Getty Images Sport - Sarah Stier

Elina Svitolina admits winning a Grand Slam and reaching the world No. 1 is something she would still like to achieve but adds that she would feel happy with her accomplishments even if her career finished today as the Ukrainian tennis star has been playing with a new perspective since returning to tennis as a mom.

After winning five titles during a breakthrough 2017 season and reaching a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world, Svitolina - now 29 years old - established herself as one of the top players in the game and she didn't hide that her goals were winning Grand Slams and becoming the world No. 1. 

Although three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Svitolina remained a top player for the next several years as she enjoyed some deep Grand Slam runs and spent the majority of her time in the top-10, a maiden Slam and the world No. 1 didn't come. 

Then in the spring of 2022, Svitolina - who was 27 at the time - announced she was pregnant and was stepping away from pro tennis to focus on her pregnancy. 

Since launching her post-pregnancy comeback, Svitolina has made two WTA finals and won one title - made the Wimbledon semifinal and was a semifinalist at the French Open - and she has also managed to return to No. 17 in the world.

This week, Svitolina is defending her title in Strasbourg, and if she wins Strasbourg, it will be her 18th WTA title. The Ukrainian may not have won a Grand Slam so far but she still has some very notable titles in her collection as she is a WTA Finals champion and also has four WTA 1000 titles.

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Svitolina on her new perspective, goals of winning a Grand Slam 

During her pregnancy and extended time away from pro tennis, Svitolina took some time to reflect on her career and everything. And that's when the Ukrainian realized that she had a pretty successful career despite not having a Slam title or the world No. 1 ranking in her resume. 

After Svitolina concludes her Strasbourg title defense this week, she will return to the French Open - where she impressively reached the quarterfinal last year just two months after starting her post-pregnancy comeback. 

“For sure I have high goals, and I always had high goals for myself, and I have ultimate goals, like I think every tennis player, to win a Grand Slam and become No.1 in the world. But I think it’s important to also realize the journey that I had over the years, being in the top 10, top five for some years, it also can be enough,” Svitolina told rolandgarros.com.

“Because for sure when you get pregnant, you hope that everything goes well, but also have to see realistically that maybe I will not be able to come back.

“So in that moment, it took me some months to realize, to maybe have a different perspective as well about my career, and that’s why I think it also helped me when I had the chance to come back. Actually, I think with zero expectations, I came back even quicker because I was not expecting to come back in Charleston.”

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina © Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

Now, Svitolina is also more mature and better reacts and responds in certain situations. 

“I feel like it’s a constant process of accepting and moving forward with what you have. Accept what you have and just draw confidence from this," Svitolina said.

Svitolina on dealing with more injuries now than before 

Being out of tennis for 13 months left its toll as Svitolina had to build her fitness, condition and tennis from the scratch when she decided to start her comeback. While Svitolina has enjoyed a successful post-pregnancy comeback so far, she has also battled a couple of injuries so far - most notably, a foot and a back issue. 

The fact that Svitolina is no longer one of the youngest players out there - she will turn 30 in September - is also maybe playing a part in the Ukrainian now being more injured than before.

“It was difficult time for me to really accept that it is how it is right now, I have to deal with more injuries than I used to before. It’s always juggling between being match-ready, and being practice-ready, where you feel good but when you step on court for the match, it’s a completely different intensity, completely different feeling,” Svitolina said. 

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina © Getty Images Sport - Darrian Traynor

In her interview, Svitolina also admitted that it is "tougher" for her to travel now than before when she knows that her daughter Skai has to stay at home. Also, Svitolina admitted that it is even tougher for her to deal with being away from Skai when the results aren't the way she would like them to be.

Meanwhile, Svitolina will be kicking off her 11th French Open campaign next week. In the past, Svitolina had several notable runs at Roland Garros as she is a four-time French Open quarterfinalist.

Elina Svitolina