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Svitolina Says “Empty Words” Won’t Solve Ukraine Conflict


Svitolina Says “Empty Words” Won’t Solve Ukraine Conflict

By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Monday, May 29, 2023

Former World No. 3 Elina Svitolina is enjoying her time back on the courts after recently giving birth to her first child with husband Gael Monfils.

Yet, she is hoping her success draws more attention and action to the ongoing conflict in her native Ukraine.


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Svitolina, a three-time former Roland Garros quarterfinalist, secured a strong opening round 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 26 seed Martina Trevisan of Italy.



The win for the 28-year-old Svitolina comes fresh off the heels of her winning the WTA event in Strasbourg last week. The Ukraine native continues to use her platforms to draw more attention and action to the ongoing conflict in her nation. That included her donating all her prize money from Strasbourg to relief efforts in her country.


Yet Svitolina criticized what she called “empty words” that are not helping.


“Well, what I found, that a lot of, I don’t know in a nicer way to say, but a lot of rubbish is happening around the situation where we have to focus on what the main point of what is going on, of a lot of people, Ukrainian people, need help and need support. We are focusing on so many, you know, things like empty words, empty things that are not helping the situation, not helping anything, Svitolina said after her match.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has impacted both the ATP and WTA tours for the last year and a half.

Just yesterday, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine endured tense post-match interviews after Kostyuk refused to shake Sabalenka’s hand after their first round match that Sabalenka won.

Svitolina has been openly critical of the WTA for its initial response to the conflict. During a recent interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, Svitolina was quoted as saying, “The WTA should have done more, much more, on many issues. Now it’s too late. There have been a lot of press releases, a lot of interviews. It was useless.”



For Svitolina, she feels it’s time for more action all around to find a solution to the issue.


“So right now my focus, and I want to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians,” Svitolina said. “That’s the main point of this, you know, to help kids, to help women who lost their husbands because they are at the war and they are fighting for Ukraine.

“We are missing the main point that people now at this time, they need help as never before. The kids, you know, they’re losing their parents, they’re losing parts of their body.

“You know, there is so many things that we can do and help in different ways. You can donate couple of dollars might help and save lives. Or donate your time to something to help people. You know, we are missing the main point of all of that and talking, talking, talking about nothing. Well, here, empty, completely empty words. Not helping.”

Svitolina will next face Australia’s Storm Sanders in the second round.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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