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“It’s time to get back on court and kick some ass” – New mother Svitolina plans to continue comeback in Europe

After going down in a close three-set battle in her first match in a year. the former world No 3 will continue her comeback on the ITF circuit in Europe.

Elina Svitolina at the Qatar Open in Doha in 2022 Elina Svitolina at the Qatar Open in Doha in 2022

If one had any thoughts that motherhood might quench the competitive fires of Elina Svitolina, the Ukrainian dismissed any of those notions as she vowed to ‘kick some ass’ after her first match on the tour after a year-long break.

The 28-year-old from Ukraine played her first match as a mother on Monday in Charleston and went down 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 in a close battle to the feisty Yulia Putintseva in two hours and 46 minutes.

Speaking after the match, the former world No 3 said she was happy with her game and knows what areas to improve as she vowed to keep her comeback going.

“It’s time to get back on court and kick some ass,” she told Tennis Channel in an interview after her loss. “I had goosebumps. It was a really, really sweet atmosphere out there. It was so nice to see many people cheering me on, push me through some tough moments, because it was not easy physically today.

“In the end, I’m really happy with the way I played, today, and now I can see more clear what I need to improve to be better. I think I’m hitting the ball well. I just have to work more on my fitness. I think a few bits here and there are going to help me to keep the focus more consistently, to be there in the moment. I think a few things here and there are going to make a difference for me.”

Svitolina took a break from the sport after Miami last year as she struggled with the emotions of seeing her nation invaded by Russia. Soon after, she announced that she and her husband, ATP player Gael Monfils, were expecting their first child.

Daughter Skai is now six months old and Svitolina made the trip to Charleston alone leaving her daughter in the hands of her father. The Ukrainian continued to be at the forefront to raise awareness about her country as she took part in a charity pro-am fundraiser on Sunday.

“It was really tough trip for me, but at the same time, I was the happiest person to see my grandmother, to see the other half of my family as well,” she said. “It’s really tough to see my homeland in this state … constantly. I went to some destroyed cities, completely destroyed from the missiles, so this was a really heartbreaking moment for me, so that’s why I try to do my best for Ukrainian people, for Ukraine, for rebuilding Ukraine, because it’s really needed now these days. We try to make everything possible to raise money, to raise awareness that the war is still there … We’re here, we’re Ukrainian, so we try to do everything that’s in our power.”

Svitolina will continue her comeback on clay as she has taken a wild card into the ITF W60 Chiasso (Switzerland) next week, followed by one at the 100k ITF in Oeiras later this month with the sole purpose of getting more matches under her belt.

“I will sit down with my team and go through the calendar of where I can use my protected ranking, maybe some wildcards to some [Hologic WTA Tour] tournaments as well,” she said. “Now, for me, it’s some ITF tournaments in Europe to get some matches under my belt, and I’m just looking forward to some new challenges.”

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