I am trying to draw attention to sports in general and tennis in particular, with my sports results. Attention of the government, society, business, and patrons. We need healthy, athletic, and happy children because they are our future.
I am glad that the sports industry is developing in the country. I really do see changes, and even though the situation is not perfect, we are moving in the right direction. We have a lot of talented children, I know this, and I see it through the work of my foundation. That is why we need to raise athletes and create an environment for them, to encourage sports and a healthy lifestyle from an early childhood.
My goal is to open the doors to the world of sports for Ukrainian children and, perhaps, to discover new stars of the world's sport arena. Tennis will teach them self-discipline and the need to work on themselves every day. These skills are valuable not only at the tennis court but also in life
Since I was a child, I spent time on a tennis court because my older brother played tennis, and our parents were taking me with him. When I was four, I started playing tennis myself. After some time, I started showing first results and outplaying my brother. It seems to me that tennis chose me, not the other way around.
I vividly remember how I won the last Olympic Game in Rio. There, during the 1/8th of the finals, I beat Serena Williams—one of the strongest tennis players in the world. This victory gave me faith and confidence in myself. I realised that it doesn't matter who is your opponent, the only thing that matters is how well you play and what you are capable of.
The most difficult victory was at this year's Olympics in Tokyo, where I won Ukraine's first Olympic tennis medal. For me, it was a real battle, I understood how precious this victory was, and I understood all of the expectations. It's impossible to describe the feeling when you are playing for the national team, and the whole country supports you. I am happy that my dream came true.
In 2019 another long-held dream of mine came true: I launched the Elina Svitolina Foundation. It aims to develop the tennis industry in Ukraine. Tennis gave me a lot, and now it is my turn to help—to share my knowledge and experience, and also to provide new opportunities for those who are just starting their journey.
Still, abroad, there are many stereotypes about Ukraine related to the Soviet past or events that have a negative undertone. However, when I talk to foreigners who visited Ukraine, their attitude is based on a completely different experience. This experience is connected to the variety and deliciousness of Ukrainian cuisine, and incredible trips around Ukraine. Their memories are about the openness and hospitality of our people, creative youth, talented musicians, and unique designers.
Patriotism is not about geography. It is about thoughts, actions, and deeds. I am proud to be a patriot of Ukraine
I realise that I am the ambassador of Ukraine in the sports world, kind of a 'sports diplomat'. I am always proud to present Ukraine in the world's sports arena and to prove that Ukrainians are winners. We are strong-spirited, purposeful, we honour our culture, traditions, and history.
I remember when I was a child, my grandmother was my guide to Ukrainian culture and traditions. Together, we visited exhibitions and theatres, and just walked a lot around Odesa. During these walks, grandmother talked to me about Ukraine. These are probably my warmest memories. She always cooked delicious Ukrainian dishes, and now, when I arrive to Odesa, I always visit my grandmother for lunch or dinner. Then, just like when I was a child, we go for a walk and discuss what has changed since then.
For me, patriotism is always about remembering and respecting your history and traditions, building your life in the right direction, and keeping your values close to the heart. And also, it is to think about the future—what will we leave to our future generations, what will they say about us?
To win the Olympic medal at 26, I came to the tennis court when I was 4. It is important that starting from childhood, the path to professional sport was clear and promising
When I have some spare time, I attend Ukrainian events abroad. Also, in my social networks, I tell about Ukraine, our traditions and culture, achievements and victories of our athletes, about my native Odesa and my grandmother's borscht, about Kyiv and Kharkiv, about our talented people whom I truly admire.
It is always a great responsibility for me to play for the Ukrainian team. My performance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo was special. I experienced incredible emotions, especially when I realised that the game was over and I won the first-ever tennis Olympic medal for Ukraine. It was probably the most difficult week of my career. Strong opponents, who came to win, endless matches and true tennis battles that lasted for almost three hours every day.
The match for the bronze medal was difficult both physically and emotionally. I started the match not the way I planned it, but I am really happy that I managed to pull myself together, come back to the game, and win. During this decisive match, I gave my all, so this medal is worth its weight in gold.
I dedicate this victory to my parents, family, and my team, who always supported and believed in me. I also dedicate this victory to children and youth. I want this medal to give them faith in their strength and to be a real stimulus. Most importantly, I want to dedicate this victory to the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence.
I consider promotion of Ukraine and everything Ukrainian as a part of my job