“It Was Really Sad”: Elina Svitolina Reflects on Serena Williams and Others Wimbledon Championships 2021 Retirement

Published 07/01/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Tennis – WTA 500 – bett1 Open – Rot-Weiss Tennis Club, Berlin, Germany – June 16, 2021 Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina reacts after losing her round of 16 match against Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova REUTERS/Annegret Hilse


Elina Svitolina started her 2021 Wimbledon Championships campaign with a positive start. The Ukrainian beat Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. With many players slipping and taking heavy falls on the grass court, Svitolina has taken some learnings from that.

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Elina Svitolina will be playing against Magda Linette of Poland in the second round match. The World No.5 enjoys a 2-0 lead in the head-to-head record against the Polish national. However, the upsets in this year’s Wimbledon Championships point towards the uncertainty of the event.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 3, 2021 Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning her second round match against Ann Li of the U.S. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Elina Svitolina has examined and studied the Wimbledon grass court very well

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This year has been a terrible one for the players, as far as the surface is concerned. The frequent slips and falls have caused a few injuries as well. Serena Williams had to retire after getting injured on the slippery grass court at SW19. Novak Djokovic has created a “connection” with the grass in Wimbledon.

However, Elina Svitolina changed her game plan after observing the grass court. The Ukrainian studied the key areas of the court, as a result of which she executed her shot selection.

I saw that many player were falling, thus I tried not to pursue the drop shots that much, and do it only when I was really sure about it. The court was really slippery near the net and on the sides and dry in the middle. But I was not afraid of it,” said Svitolina.

Watch this story: Wimbledon championship 2021 day 1 -Best Shots by Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Frances Tiafoe and Aryna Sabalenka

Svitolina on her shoes and Serena Williams’ unfortunate injury

Elina carries shoes according to the surface, and also cleans the grass from the sole. It is extremely important for athletes to take care of their footwear, irrespective of the sport.

Gael told me that it was slippery and I had to be a bit more careful, in order to avoid injuries. I have a lot sneakers, and always choose the most appropriate pair, as well as wipe the sole with a towel to remove the grass. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid falling down and you just have to fall properly,” said Svitolina.

Serena Williams suffered an injury after slipping on the court, as a result of which she had to pull out of the tournament. The former World No.1 was a tournament favorite and unfortunately had to cut short her tournament.

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I am sure we would not be allowed to play if the situation were really dangerous. It was really sad to see how other players got injuries, and that Serena had to withdraw. She is always among the top players of any tournament, no matter what her actual conditions are,” said Svitolina.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 29, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her first round match against Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Elina Svitolina would be looking to emulate the performance by the Ukraine National football team, as they reached the Euro 2020 quarterfinals. The main aim for the World No.5 will be to get to the third round without injuring herself.

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Suchit Halder

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