World No. 5 Elina Svitolina has often spoken about the crucial role that her parents have played in her success and instilling the discipline required in her as a child. In a recent post on Behind the Racquet, the Ukrainian also says that it is important at some point, parents stop travelling with their children on the tennis circuit and take a step back.
Svitolina says, "I think the hardest part is that my parents were involved in my tennis. No matter where I played, they always followed. My parents wanted me to win every game. At some point it is important that every parent walks away and my parents understood this five years ago.
When my parents stopped traveling with me, I no longer counted on them. If I lost a game, I only blamed myself and through this process, I found my own way . " The Ukrainian says, "Tennis has given everything I have today.
Tennis taught me discipline, introduced me to great people and allowed me to discover incredible places. In short, tennis is my whole life." The former World No. 3 Svitolina has won 14 WTA singles titles, including the 2018 WTA Finals.
She became the first Ukrainian woman to break into the top-10 rankings. She reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships and followed it up with a second consecutive semifinal at the 2019 US Open.
In her post, she also spoke about the pressures that come with competing on the professional circuit but added how playing in front of crowds and winning tournaments gave her the energy and motivation to move forward. Here is the complete post of Svitolina from Behind the Racquet.
I played the $10,000 events, then the $25,000 events, and slowly started getting into Grand Slams. Then I was playing on the biggest stages and trying to break into the Top 10 but I put too much pressure on myself. No matter what you are ranked, you always want more.
When I was number 30 in the world, I thought, ‘If I am in the Top 10 I will be happy,’ but when I found myself in the Top 10, I was crying after losing matches. It never ends and it's never enough. I learned to enjoy every match, even the toughest battles. When I was transitioning to the professional circuit, there was a lot of doubt.
People expect you to improve quickly and you compare yourself to other players who are the same age but ranked higher. You have this negative voice in your head but you have to put doubts aside and work hard every single day. I think the toughest thing was that my parents were involved in my tennis.
No matter where I played, they always followed. My parents wanted me to win every match. At a certain point, it's important for every parent to step away and my parents realized this five years ago. When my parents stopped traveling with me, I didn’t count on them anymore.
If I lost a match, I only blamed myself and through this process, I found my own way. I still think about my childhood sometimes. Perhaps it could have been better if my parents hadn’t pushed me so hard. Yet these tough moments made me the person I am today.
I have been on the road from a young age. It was challenging but when I thought about what I wanted to achieve, it motivated me. I would reset goals every few years so it did not feel like a constant cycle of traveling and losing, because I lost almost every week.
Playing in front of crowds and winning tournaments gave me energy and motivation. Tennis gave me everything I have today. Tennis taught me discipline, introduced me to great people and showed me unbelievable places. Tennis gave me my life”.
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