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May 21, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina took Rome title, the prestigious tournament, which allowed her to become the 6th racket of the world and lead the championship race of the WTA-tour season. It is time to get to know Elina more closely. Especially since this is her fourth trophy in the season.
Svitolina was born in a sports family and since childhood, she has been fond of many sports: swimming, running, gymnastics, basketball, tennis. Tennis was her best sport, it was her passion. In her interviews, Elina admitted that she got some extra motivation and inspirations in tennis when looking to the example of her older brothers, who also played tennis.
Despite the fact that she was born in Odesa, her formation as an athlete took place in Kharkiv, her coach was Andriy Lutsenko, a respected expert in Ukrainian tennis. All this happened thanks to the Kharkiv businessman Yuri Sapronov, who offered eleven-year-old Elina and her parents to move to Kharkiv, where he proposed to sponsor her training (he also took an active part in the preparation of Tetyana Perebyinis, Yulia Fedak, Maria Korytseva, and Bondarenko sisters).
After the move, Svitolina received stable funding and high-quality specialists. Her talent she further developed in Belgium, at the academy of the world-famous Justine Henin. Justine Henin tennis academy played a significant role in career of the young Ukrainian, and Henin held the position of her consultant since 2015. Now in their cooperation is pause due to the maternity leave of the Belgian.
Svitolina became the second Ukrainian (after Kateryna Bondarenko and her Wimbledon-2004), who managed to take the junior title of the Grand Slam. She excelled in 2010, becoming the best at the Junior Roland Garros. In 2012, Elina also had a junior finale at Wimbledon, which she lost.
Her first tournament in the adult round of the WTA, she won in 2013, becoming the owner of the Cup of Baku, a year later, Svitolina defended the title. At the moment she already has 8 titles in WTA and 7 in ITF. This year she managed to win in four tournaments at once - in Taipei, Dubai, Istanbul, and Rome. Thus, she beat the record of Andriy Medvedev, who won three tournaments in 1992 and 1993.
Elina is not afraid of authorities. Second year in a row she is a leader in the number of victories over the representatives of TOP-5. Since the beginning of last season, she collected nine such victories, five of which she took this year. The former first racket of the world Angelique Kerber has got the most - four consecutive defeats from our athlete and three of them in 2017. A separate success with the tops is to consider a sensational victory over Serena Williams at the Olympics in Rio 2016 in the 1/8 finals. A pity was not enough strength for more, because Svitolina herself admitted that she really wanted to earn a medal for her country, and that is why she had a special mood at the Olympic Games.
Before the start of the new season, Elina set herself the goal to enter the TOP-10 and get to the final tournament. While everything is going according to plan, its results on the courts this year are just brilliant: 31-6 (6-1 as underdog, and 25-5 in the status of favorite, according to bookmakers) and 11-2 on the ground, which is encouraging on the eve of the Rolland Garros. In total, she 264 victories in his career (Elina is only 22 years old).
Coincidence or not, but the progress of the Ukrainian tennis player occurred with a complete change of coaching staff. After almost three years of cooperation, Ian Hughes left the post of head coach, he was replaced by Gabriel Urpi, who had a successful experience with Conchita Martinez and Flavia Pennetta. Also there was another consultant Thierry Assion, who worked with renowned tennis players Peer, Gasquet, and Tsonga.
Despite the fact that Svitolina's favorite cover is grass, there is every reason to expect a cool performance from her at Rolland Garros, which start on the next Sunday. Elina Svitolina is in a great shape and has a better statistics against the favorites. Let us hope that in France Svitolina would beat the national record of Andriy Medvedev and his status of the fourth racket of the world.
It is clear that women's tennis is full of surprises, but I want to believe that not in the case of our Elina. One way or another, the upcoming Roland Garros will be full of deep meaning for tennis fans in Ukraine. It is necessary to empathize not only nominally, but with a full awareness of the reality of victory. Let us agree, in this situations sport is much more watchable.