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‘We are very lucky’ – Svitolina and Monfils, tennis’s love story
Tennis’s most famous couple have been talking about their relationship in recent weeks
Relationships in tennis are hardly unusual. In the age of social media, though, Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils’s courtship and recent marriage has been eagerly followed by fans – many of whom keep up to date with their daily adventures via their GEMSLife TikTok and Instagram.
And the couple have also not been shy about paying tribute to each other during their media appearances.
After lifting the title in Adelaide, Monfils used his victory speech to say: “Last year was very tough for me. I almost, let’s not say want to quit, but lost my faith in tennis. But Elina was there. Thank you, Elina, thank you for everything.”
And Svitolina had more to say in her press conference after beating Harmony Tan to reach the third round of the Australian Open – saying that little had changed for them in terms of life on tour since marrying last summer.
“We are still practising sometimes together,” she told reporters. “We are talking about tennis sometimes. Sometimes trying not to talk too much about tennis. I mean, for tennis nothing really changed.
“But I think personally [marriage] connected us even more. We had amazing wedding in a way that all our families were together. It’s very rare for a tennis player to see whole family together because my parents, they in Ukraine. His parents in France, Guadeloupe, Martinique. Everyone is everywhere. In that day was really special that we saw everyone at one venue. We were super happy with how the event went. Was very special for both of us.”
Svitolina – It’s important to have someone who understands
With both of them being away from their families and friends for so much of the year, Svitolina added that she thought it was helpful for them to be on tour together, and able to really understand the life of a travelling tennis player.
“For me it’s important to have someone who understands what I’m going through. I will have for sure some bad situations where I’m not feeling well off the court, you are struggling with motivation, which is normal for the athletes. You are traveling so much. You’re away from home, away from your family. For me this is sometimes can get complicated. It’s very important, the mental part is very important. For me to have Gael next to me at the same big events it’s actually also very lucky in our situation that we are both at the top of our sport so we are travelling pretty much the same tournaments.
“That’s really lucky in a way – that we found love for each other and we do the same thing. We play tennis. We have same goals. We’re just helping each other in the way that we can help each other to reach our best and to reach our goals.”
Monfils agreed when he spoke to the media following his thumping straight-sets win over Alexander Bublik to secure his own place in the third round.
“When she’s stressed, of course I have the word to relax her a little bit easier, but with me, you know, she’s always very caring. She knows that I need to feel good most of the time to deliver, so she’s, I mean, she knows me quite well and she always have the good word when something comes up maybe outside of tennis or wherever to bring me back on my goal.”
Monfils – tennis is great, but it’s not the most important thing
The Ukrainian’s most recent title came in Chicago last year – but the Frenchman’s 2022 got off to an incredible start as he swept through Adelaide without dropping a set, beating second seed Karen Khachanov in the final plus sixth seed Tommy Paul on the way there.
And nobody was happier about it than his new bride.
“He’s in a good form,” she smiled. “He’s playing great tennis. I’m really happy to see him happy. That’s always been my goal for him.”
Monfils, though, eight years his wife’s senior, added a little bit of perspective, explaining that although they loved tennis and their work, that was not the foundation of their relationship.
“Tennis, it’s something, but it’s not our life,” he said. “Our life is, it’s way different. It’s like we have so much more in common outside of tennis and that is the most important because I guess there’s so many people share the tennis passion and I hope that’s not why she married me and that’s not why I married her. So it’s great – but it’s not the main thing.”