“So many of you have been with me all the way, and I’m asking you to continue.”
Ukrainian women’s tennis player Elina Svitolina, 28, broke down in tears after being knocked out of the women’s singles semifinals at the Wimbledon tennis tournament on Wednesday (Nov. 13).
While she was unable to reach the final of her first major tournament, Svitolina’s emotional run as a baby mama and citizen of a war-torn country was the “real story” of the tournament.
Svitolina is a “second-year mom” who gave birth to a daughter last October after marrying men’s tennis player Gael Montpellier (FRA).
She only returned to the court in April, reaching the quarterfinals at the French Open, which ended last month, where she defeated the world No. 1 to reach the semifinals.
In the round of 16, he won his match against Belarusian player Viktorija Azaranka, who is helping Russia.
His refusal to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players was also of interest.
“I’m happy that I could bring a little happiness to the Ukrainian people,” Svitolina said, and in the quarterfinals, the world No. 1 and No. 1 seed upset Sibyon Tech (Poland).
The applause for Svitolina grew louder as the match progressed. The center-court crowd cheered her one-sidedly, as if she were a British player. In Svitolina’s center court, everyone was Ukrainian.
During the semifinal, Vadim Pristayko and his wife, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK, cheered Svitolina on from the Royal Box, demonstrating the intense interest of Ukrainians in the tournament 꽁머니.
At the press conference after her semifinal loss, Svitolina broke down in tears.
“I received a lot of messages from different people,” she said, “and I can’t believe that they stuck with me to the end. I hope they will continue to do so in the future.”
He also spoke candidly about the pressure of being in the spotlight as a player from a war-torn country.
“It definitely motivates me to win, but it’s also a lot of responsibility and a lot of nerves. I try to balance it as much as possible,” she said, adding that “sometimes it’s too much.”
“I don’t want to use the pressure as an excuse for today’s defeat,” she added, “but I hope the Ukrainian people will continue to support me. It was amazing.”
Svitolina added: “I wish I could have played better today, but I think my performance in the quarterfinals was good. I think I showed more mental strength than before, and I coped well with the nerves,” she said, adding, “I hope I will be given another chance (to win the title).”