Svitolina pauses her season after ‘extremely difficult couple of months’

The former world No 3, troubled by a bad back and the war in her home country, has said she will miss next month’s Fed Cup and some of the events in Europe

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at the Monterrey Open in March 2022 Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina at the Monterrey Open in March 2022 Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Ukraine’s top-ranked female tennis player Elina Svitolina has announced that she is pausing her season after a difficult couple of months, both physically and mentally, for her.

The world No 20 made the announcement in a social media post where she spoke about how she has been deeply pained by the events that have unfolded in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion and also about her back which had been troubling her for some time.

In her post, the former world No 3 said that she will miss the Billie Jean King Cup next month and some of the European tournaments but is hopeful of returning to the tour soon, without giving a specific timeline for her return.

The 27-year-old Svitolina is 5-8 for the season and lost her opening match in both Indian Wells and Miami. Svitolina has won 16 WTA Tour titles, including the WTA Finals in 2018, and over $21 million in career prize money. She has also been a two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist (Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019).

“As a player based in Kyiv, I have nowhere to go” – Svitolina’s compatriot Tsurenko

Meanwhile, Svitolina’s countrywoman Lesia Tsurenko, the world No 135, posted a poignant message on her social media, in which spoke about being faced with a new challenge. Tsurenko, a former world No 23,said: “As a player based in Kyiv, I have nowhere to go. Now every Ukrainian has his own nightmare story…Where should I go?”

Tsurenko lost in the qualifying in Miami but entered the main draw as a lucky loser last week. She also lost in the first round of the WTA $125K event in Marbella on Tuesday.

Three current and retired Ukrainian male players – Sergiy Stakhovsky, Andrei Medvedev and Alexandr Dolgopolov – have joined the forces in Ukraine to defend their country in recent weeks as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to devastate those from the region.

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