Elina Svitolina thankful of Wimbledon opponent Iga Swiatek’s support for Ukraine
Tension will be replaced by appreciation when Elina Svitolina takes on Iga Swiatek for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday.
The All England Club can have barely heard a reaction like the chorus of booing that accompanied Victoria Azarenka off Court One following her narrow defeat by Svitolina on Sunday evening.
Ukrainian players refuse to shake hands with Russian or Belarusian opponents at the end of matches as a result of the invasion of their country and there has been significant locker room rancour about how the issue has affected tennis.
The WTA has been criticised for not offering enough support to its Ukrainian members, who feel the rights of their Russian and Belarusian counterparts have been prioritised.
An exception to that has been Swiatek, with the Pole using her voice and platform to speak up for Ukraine and organising a charity exhibition event last summer.
“She’s a great champion, also a great person,” said Svitolina. “I’m really thankful for her support of Ukrainians, Ukraine, doing everything what is in her power, being vocal about that.”
Swiatek wears a blue and yellow ribbon to show she is still thinking about Ukraine, and she said of Svitolina: “For sure we respect each other. We like each other. It’s all pretty positive.
“It’s good to have these kind of players on tour that are nice and they have good values, I think. I’m happy that she’s back after becoming a mother. I don’t know how tough it is, but I’m sure it’s really tough.
“I’m happy that she’s playing a solid game. I think it’s going to be interesting.”
Svitolina has now reached back-to-back grand slam quarter-finals having only returned to the tour in April following the birth of daughter Skai in October.
The former world number three has made two grand slam semi-finals, at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019, while Swiatek, who saved match points against Belinda Bencic in round four, is having her best run here.