Tennis

Wimbledon: Svitolina Struggled For Focus After Russia Attacks On Homeland Ukraine

The 29-year-old Elina Svitolina was reduced to tears in her on-court interview after her her last-16 win at Wimbledon, regarding the ongoings in her homeland

Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon at Wimbledon after the attacks on her homeland Ukraine.
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An emotional Elina Svitolina says she struggled to focus during her last-16 win at Wimbledon after Russian attacks killed at least 29 people and hit a children's hospital in her native Ukraine. (More Tennis News)

The 29-year-old overcame China's Wang Xinyu to reach the quarter-finals on Monday but was reduced to tears in her on-court interview after the ongoings in her homeland.

The strike was part of one of the heaviest attacks on Ukraine's capital Kyiv since the Russian invasion began in February 2022, with Svitolina sporting a black ribbon to pay tribute to her home country.

"It was a good performance from my side and it's a very difficult day today for Ukrainian people," said Svitolina, who has regularly addressed the impact of the war on Ukraine.

"It was not easy to focus on the match. Since the morning it was very difficult to read the news and just to go on the court... it's extremely tough.

"I'm happy I could play today and get a win."

Wimbledon organisers made a rare exception to relax the tournament's strict all-white rules for Svitolina's fourth-round match, allowing the 2023 semi-finalist to wear the black ribbon on the chest of her white outfit.

"I feel like it would be understandable after such a big attack on my country," she later added at a press conference.

Ukraine's largest children's hospital was among the buildings hit in the attack and world number 21 Svitolina will continue to raise awareness of the war.

"It's [an] incredibly sad day today for all Ukrainians. It was really difficult for me to really be here in a way and do anything," she continued after her 6-2 6-1 win.

"I just wanted to be in my room, just be there with my emotions, with everything.

"I have to put my head down and show up and do my best, my very best. Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, to raise money, to help in every possible way they can."

Svitolina faces Russia-born Kazakh player Elena Rybakina in the next round of the grass-court major.

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