Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina in tears over hospital strike after Wimbledon win | UK News

Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina broke down in tears on court after reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals – hours after a Russian missile hit a children’s hospital in her homeland.

“It’s a difficult day for Ukrainian people,” she said.

“When you have these sad days where you don’t want to do anything, it was this kind of day for me,” she added.

Svitolina, who was born in Odesa, wore a black ribbon on her top as she beat opponent Wang Xinyu 6-2 6-1 at the tournament.

Writing on Instagram, Svitolina described it as one of the most difficult matches of her life, saying: “Wimbledon has become black for me today.”

At least 31 people, including children, were killed in the strike on the children’s hospital in Kyiv.

Follow latest: Russia launches hypersonic attack on Ukraine

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The hospital after the attack. Pic: Reuters

“It’s an incredibly sad day today for all Ukrainians,” Svitolina, 29, reiterated in her press conference.

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

Wimbledon last year lifted a ban on Russian and Belarusian players, allowing them to participate as “neutral” athletes in a climbdown from the stance it took in 2022, a few months after the invasion began.

Svitolina said she feels guilty when she celebrates achievements on the court or experiences happiness in her life – and added she has been “living with this feeling for over two years”.

“I think for many Ukrainians they will share this feeling with me,” she said.

“We feel guilt that we feel happy or that we feel good. Not only because I’m in the quarter-final of the grand slam, but in everything.

“Like, you go to holidays, you feel guilty because you’re not in Ukraine. Many people cannot leave the country. Many people are at the war.”

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina broke down in tears after his win. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Svitolina said her motivation against China’s Wang at Wimbledon was to provide some good news for Ukrainians.

“Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, to raise money, to help in every possible way they can,” she said.

“My way is through tennis,” she added. “I’m playing, of course, such an amazing event as Wimbledon. I have to also think about how I can use that in a way for Ukrainian people.”

“At least with my win today, it was a small light that brought a happy moment for Ukrainian people.”

Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon during her fourth-round match at Wimbledon. Pic: AP
Image:
Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon during her fourth-round match at Wimbledon. Pic: AP

Svitolina will play fourth seed and title favourite Elena Rybakina in the next round, who switched from representing Russia to Kazakhstan six years ago.

Svitolina refuses to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players at the end of matches but will have no problem doing so with Rybakina, the Ukrainian said today.

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