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‘It’s been a busy July!’ Elina Svitolina on being a newly-wed and an Olympic medallist

The Ukrainian spoke to the media ahead of the Omnium Banque Nationale in Montreal, talking about her eventful last few weeks

Elina Svitolina, bronze medalist, by YAra Nardi (AI / Reuters / Panoramic)

Elina Svitolina has had a very full to-do list over the past month.

On Friday July 16, she married fiancé Gael Monfils.

Nine days later, she began her campaign in the women’s singles competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, winning the bronze medal on Saturday July 31.

And now she is in Montreal, Canada, set to play in the Omnium Banque Nationale.

“Yeah, definitely, it’s been a busy July for me and lots of great memories and great events for personal and sports career,” she confirmed to the media ahead of the tournament, “so it’s amazing to experience everything in such a short period of time but in the end, very, very happy with where I am with my life and with my tennis as well.”

The Ukrainian lost her semi-final to the Czech Marketa Vondrousova, 6-3, 6-1, but had to pick herself up again for the bronze medal match two days later.

And she fought past Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 – with her resilience giving her a great deal of pride.

“It was extremely tough for me to come back to play the bronze match,” she admitted, “so winning in such a big battle again, coming back in the second set and the third set to win that match, is very special for me and I know how much it means for Ukraine, and I was fighting with the whole heart to bring the medal to Ukraine.”

Olympic medals are special for everyone

She added with a laugh that she knew that not everyone thinks tennis ought to be an Olympic sport, but even so, everyone in the competition was desperate to win a medal for their country.

“When you see all the athletes that are there, the preparation that they do, the way that they prepare, and how much it means for any athlete to get the medal no matter what they’re going through,” she said, “you realise that it doesn’t matter which sport you are – if you are skateboarding or surfing – you get the medal, everyone is fighting for a medal, so you just fight for it and you try to win it.

“I am taking a lot of confidence out of that performance and everyone who I played against. They were there, and were trying to beat me – they wanted as much as me to win the medal so it’s very special for me.”

The new Mme Monfils may have been physically tired after the Olympic Games, but she is sure that her form there will serve her well during the north American part of the tour calendar.

“It’s been a couple of really tough tournaments for me – early exit at Wimbledon and playing not as good as I wanted to at Roland Garros, so it was really tough for me,” said the 26-year-old. “And coming back strong at the Olympics, playing some great matches, good tennis, even when I was down in the matches, coming back and winning that medal definitely inspired me to play until the very last point and to fight for what I want so I’m now more happy – and really in a good mood to for the US swing.”

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