Elina Svitolina and husband Gaël Monfils are having quite a time at the French Open


Elina Svitolina came from behind to beat Storm Hunter at Roland Garros – just a day after watching her husband Gaël Monfils win a mammoth match against Sebastián Báez.

Svitolina lost the first set to her Australian counterpart 6-2 but came back strong winning the last two sets 3-6 1-6 to wrap up the second round win.

Monfils also lost the first set to Báez. The Frenchman fought back and eventually won the match in five sets with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 1-6 7-5 win in a match that lasted three hours and 47 minutes in front of a roaring crowd.

Monfils’ game over distance meant Svitolina’s preparations were slightly more unusual than normal, but that didn’t affect his performance.

“I watched the whole game. I was up until midnight when the game ended and I went to bed straight away,” the Ukrainian explained. got a good seven hours of sleep, which is pretty good for the Grand Slam.

“It gave me the motivation to go back today. He was there for me today. I made such a big effort to come and support me, especially on a tough day like today. So, really, it motivated me to fight and not give up and play every point, try to put 100% effort there,” Svitolina continued.

The couple got married on July 16, 2021 and welcomed their daughter Skaï Monfils in October 2022. Skaï is present at Roland-Garros and Monfils dedicated his victory to her. It’s also the first tournament mom and dad have played after Monfils’ previous battles with injuries.

“First tournament for us where we both play in the same tournament, and Skaï is also with us in Paris. It’s really, really special,” Svitolina said after her win.

“So far everything is going well, and we are really enjoying our time off the pitch together, and on the pitch as well, we try to be focused and play as well as possible.

“Of course, it’s really important to have a team for Skaï, who takes care of her, so that we can concentrate on tennis. And especially during such an important event with a lot of pressure and a lot going on, it’s important that your mind is calm about your child and that you have your head at 100%.[ing] in tennis.

In addition to raising a child and competing at a tennis grand slam, Svitolina also grapples with the inevitable “heaviness” in her daily life as a result of the war in Ukraine.

“I feel anger. I feel sadness. It hurts my heart to see all this. I have some Telegram channels where I follow the news from my hometown in Odessa, from all over Ukraine, and they publish the news of what is happening, when the alarm is on, or where the missiles have landed, you know, how many missiles were hit by our Ukrainian army, the air force,” the 28-year-old said.

“These kind of times, I get a mix of different feelings, but they’re bad feelings. You know, they’re anger, sadness, just heaviness. It’s like this heaviness that I have at the daily life, and that all Ukrainians have. You cannot escape this, and we have had this in our lives for a year and a half.

Svitolina said she fights for Ukraine every time she steps on the pitch.

The world No. 192 also spoke about how she uses war as inspiration to fuel her tennis exploits.

“For me, when I step onto the pitch, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that we all Ukrainians have and how Ukrainians are fighting for their values, for their freedom in Ukraine. And me, I fight here on my own front line, you know,” Svitolina explained.

“I can’t be sad. I can’t be distracted in some ways. I’m just gonna lose, you know. That’s why I remember when the war started, I was in Mexico in Monterrey, and I was very, very sad. I almost cried when I entered the court. I really had a heaviness in me.

“Then I thought, you know, now every time I step onto the pitch, I’m going to go 100 per cent and give it my all because I’m here to do something for my country. I have a flag next to my name, so I’m fighting for my country, and I’m going to do that every time I step onto the pitch.

Svitolina will wait to see who she faces in the third round at Roland Garros while Monfils prepares to face Holger Rune in the second round.


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