Last Updated on July 13, 2023
Elina Svitolina is a renowned professional tennis player hailing from Ukraine. Born on September 12, 1994, Svitolina has left an indelible mark on the world of tennis, peaking at world No. 3 in singles and 108 in doubles as per the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings. Throughout her career, Svitolina has bagged an impressive total of 17 WTA Tour singles titles and has found herself in the runner-up position three times.
Svitolina first made waves in the tennis world in July 2013 when she broke into the top 50. By June 2015, she had climbed to the top 20, and in May 2017, she broke into the top 10, surpassing fellow Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko and becoming the first Ukrainian woman to achieve this feat. Svitolina has continued to win titles throughout her career, including the 2018 WTA Finals and three of five Premier 5-level tournaments: the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Italian Open, and the Canadian Open.
In 2019, Svitolina enjoyed her best performances at major tournaments, reaching the semifinals at both Wimbledon and the US Open. She made history in 2021 by winning the Olympic bronze medal in the women’s singles tournament at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, becoming the first Olympian to win a medal in tennis for Ukraine.
However, Svitolina decided to take a hiatus from professional tennis in 2022 to welcome her first child into the world. Her comeback in 2023 was nothing short of extraordinary. In just a few tournaments after her return, she managed to win a WTA Tour title, reach the French Open quarterfinals, and advance to the Wimbledon semifinals, where she defeated the world’s No. 1 player, Iga Świątek.
The early days of Svitolina’s career also witnessed some significant achievements. She won the French Open girls event in 2010, marking her major breakthrough as a junior player. She reached her first professional singles final at a $25k tournament in Kharkiv in May 2010. A few years later, she added another feather to her cap by winning her first WTA title at the Baku Cup in 2013. This victory marked Svitolina as the first teenager to win a WTA tournament since February 2012, making her an instant sensation in the tennis world. This illustrious journey of Svitolina’s career reflects her parents’ vital role and support, which will be the focus of this article.
Who Are Elina Svitolina’s Father And Mother?
Elina Svitolina, a world-renowned professional tennis player, hails from a sport-oriented family based in Odessa, Ukraine. Her parents, Mikhaylo Svitolin, a former wrestler, and Olena Svitolina, a former competitive rower, provided a nurturing environment that fostered her inclination towards sports. Elina was named after the Soviet actress Elina Bystritska, signifying the family’s interest in arts and culture alongside their sportsmanship.
Elina’s older brother Julian played a crucial role in her journey to tennis stardom. Julian initially attracted the family’s attention with his budding tennis skills, which spurred a young Elina to pick up a racket at just five years old in an effort to share in her father’s attention. This friendly sibling rivalry was an early catalyst for Elina’s sporting aspirations. Today, Julian resides and works in Los Angeles, United States.
The Svitolinas relocated to Kharkiv when Elina was 13 years old to chase better prospects for their children, a move suggested by businessman Yuri Sapronov. Sapronov, having been impressed by Elina’s dedication and passion in a tournament, decided to sponsor her training and professional development. Elina’s parents, Mikhaylo and Olena, wholeheartedly embraced this opportunity, with a firm belief in their daughter’s potential to become a top player.
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According to Olena, Elina demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her training schedule, which consisted of three hours of general physical training and two hours of tennis every day. Elina’s mother fondly recalls how Elina, at the tender age of eight, once refrained from eating because she thought she was fat. These anecdotes echo Elina’s determination and the sense of discipline instilled in her from an early age.
Despite her residence in Kharkiv, Elina’s heart is still deeply connected with Odesa, a city where her family lives and that has recently been caught in the crossfire of Ukraine’s ongoing conflict. In a heart-wrenching interview with Olympics.com, Elina expressed her concerns for her grandmother, who continues to reside in the city amidst escalating violence.
“I speak with her as often as I can. There are a lot of explosions and she’s been in the basement for most of the time. Hopefully she is safe,” she confided. Elina’s concern for her family’s safety is palpable as she navigates the uncertainty of communication, “I have been staying in contact as much as I can, but it’s not always possible. I just cross my fingers and pray that everything is fine out there.”
These touching words not only highlight the profound difficulties Elina and her family face, but also underscore the strength of their bond and their unwavering hope amidst adversity.