“Thank you for being a true leader of our nation”: Svitolina meets Ukrainian President Zelensky

The former world No 3 is preparing for a comeback to the tour in April

Elina Svitolina meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Elina Svitolina meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Image Credit: Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – Ukrainian Parliament Twitter account

Former world No 3 Elina Svitolina is back in her native Ukraine this week for the first time since her country was invaded by Russia and also got the opportunity to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Svitolina complimented the Ukrainian leader, saying “Thank you for being a true leader of our nation”.

The Ukrainian tennis player, who won the Olympics bronze medal in 2021, reiterated her call for a ban on Russian and Belarusian players from the 2024 Paris Olympics in an interview while there,

“It’s going to be very sad, and the wrong message would be sent to the world if Olympics going to stay with the decision to put them (Russia and Belarus) under a neutral flag,” Svitolina said in an interview to the Associated Press. “I don’t think this is the right decision. You can see that in Russia, sports are connected to the government.”

“Boycott would be one of the options because obviously what Russian army is doing to Ukrainian people, to Ukraine, it’s a horrible thing for us,” she added said. “I cannot imagine going to the Olympics like nothing is happening to Ukraine.”

“Our men and women are at the front line right now fighting Russian soldiers and dying for our country and for our freedom as well,” she continued. “And I’m very firm with my decision that boycotting is the right way to do it.”

The Ukrainian, who gave birth to her first child with French tennis pro Gael Monfils last year, is aiming for a return to the tour in April.

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