Elina Svitolina is struggling with focus at Wimbledon due to the missile attacks in Ukraine

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Elina Svitolina reacts after winning the game

Elina Svitolina spoke with hesitation, occasionally pausing to sigh, as she addressed the recent deadly Russian missile attack on her home country of Ukraine. This event weighed heavily on her, far overshadowing her straight-set victory on Monday that secured her return to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

Svitolina has family members back in Ukraine — including her grandmother, uncle, and others. While her victories on the court, like the 6-2, 6-1 win against Wang Xinyu, can bring brief moments of joy for Ukrainians, she finds it difficult to focus on tennis during such troubling times.

The missile strikes hit several cities in Ukraine, causing extensive damage and casualties, including at least 31 deaths and over 150 injuries, according to officials.

“For me, it was really challenging to be fully present here today. I just wanted to be in my room, processing my emotions and everything. When you experience these kinds of sad days, where you feel like doing nothing, that’s how today felt for me,” Svitolina said.

Elina Svitolina waves at the fans

The All England Club allowed her to wear a black mourning ribbon on her white shirt during the match.

“This is a deeply personal and sensitive issue for us, something that we feel deeply every single day,” she added, clasping her hands on the table during her press conference. “But today was particularly tough.”

Earlier, after her match, Svitolina became emotional and wiped away tears during an on-court interview when discussing the situation in Ukraine, which has been under Russian invasion, with support from Belarus, for nearly two and a half years.

Last year, the All England Club prohibited Russian and Belarusian players from participating in Wimbledon due to political tensions. They were allowed to return this year but compete under a neutral status, without their national identities in the draws or on TV.


By Robert Jackson

An avid football fan (A red). And an Otaku by the definition of the word.

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