She appeared dumbfounded. Very affected by the war currently underway in Ukraine, tennis player Elina Svitolina agreed to answer questions from TLS on Monday, February 28, and “called for the support of Ukraine”.
Arrived on Mexican soil to play in the Monterrey tournament, the Ukrainian refused, Monday evening February 28, to face a Russian player, Anastasia Potapova. She spoke on Sunday, through a long letter published on Twitterfollowed by another on Monday evening, where she announced her withdrawal from the Mexican tournament.
— Elina Monfils (@ElinaSvitolina) February 28, 2022
TLS: Elina, why did you decide to write this letter?
Elina Svitolina : This is the worst period of my life. I’ve never felt that, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. This is a very complicated moment for all Ukrainians. It’s very hard for them to wake up to the sound of explosions. I can’t imagine how they feel now.
I decided to write this letter to express all the pain I feel in my heart. I can never thank those who stay and fight for our country enough.
You are currently in Mexico. How are you coping with the situation away from Ukraine?
It’s very hard for me. I try to keep in touch with my parents and my friends. Many lives are taken, schools and hospitals are destroyed. This is unacceptable. I try to be with them in spirit.
I try to fight for Ukraine on my side: all the money I raise through tennis will go to the Ukrainian army and people in need. It’s my job and my obligation to do this. My responsibility is to represent him, to give my best. I always play for my country, but this time it’s very special.
Several Russian tennis players, like Rublev or Pavlyuchenkova, have publicly supported Ukraine. Is it important to you?
Yes, it is very important that they support us. But I want more. I want the tennis community to mobilize even more. We see that in football, there are a lot of press releases. The WTA should do the same.
Your compatriot Sergei Stakhovsky (225th in the ATP ranking) has signed up to defend Ukraine.
Yes, I spoke with him two days ago. He is already in Kiev and is full of courage. He wants to defend our country, I can’t say how much I respect that. It’s incredibly brave to pick up a gun, to go to war for your country.