Elina Svitolina Battles Persistent Pain Amidst Comeback

Elina Svitolina Battles Persistent Pain Amidst Comeback

Elina Svitolina, the former world No. 3, has been battling persistent pain since her return from maternity leave last year. Despite a dominant start to her Internazionali BNL d’Italia campaign, Svitolina admits to struggling daily with pain levels ranging from 2 to 3 out of 10.

The pain initially stemmed from a foot injury sustained during her impressive run to the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2022. After a brief hiatus to give birth to her daughter, Svitolina returned with a more aggressive approach, resulting in a title in Strasbourg and a Top 10 victory over Daria Kasatkina.

However, the foot pain persisted, leading to a shutdown of her season after the US Open. Despite healing over the off-season, Svitolina encountered further setbacks at the Australian Open, where her back went out ahead of a fourth-round match.

Svitolina’s injuries have limited her ability to play her higher-octane game, which had been a hallmark of her comeback. She has opted to continue playing despite advice from her performance team, citing the emotional weight she carries as a spokeswoman for Ukraine.

“For me when I step on the court, I just try to think about the fighting spirit that all of us Ukrainians have,” Svitolina said.

However, her results have been mixed since Melbourne, with a 4-5 record and only one instance of winning back-to-back matches. Svitolina’s husband, Gaël Monfils, provides support by taking care of their daughter while she competes.

Despite the challenges, Svitolina remains determined to improve her condition gradually. She is closely monitoring her body through scans and listening to its signals.

“For me, the worst is to play on an injury that can get worse and force me to be out for six months,” Svitolina said. “It’s important to evaluate every single day, and see how I can get many 1% better than the day before.”

2024 Internazionali BNL d'Italia Draw Unveiled in Rome

2024 Internazionali BNL d’Italia Draw Unveiled in Rome

The Trevi Fountain in Rome provided a picturesque backdrop for the 2024 Internazionali BNL d’Italia draw ceremony, where Elina Svitolina and Holger Rune tossed coins for good luck.

Rafael Nadal, a ten-time champion, will make his likely final appearance at the Foro Italico this year. He will face a qualifier in the first round, with Hubert Hukacz as a potential second-round opponent. Rune, the No. 10 seed, will open against Daniel Altmaier or Luca Nardi.

Novak Djokovic, the top seed, will play Roman Safiullin or a qualifier in his quest for a seventh Rome title. Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, will face Jack Draper or Borna Coric, but is battling an injury.

Svitolina, the 16th seed, expressed her excitement for the tournament and the support of the Rome fans. She will play Sara Errani or Amanda Anisimova in her first match. Aryna Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, will face Wang Yafan or a qualifier, while Iga Swiatek, the top seed, will play Caroline Dolehide or a qualifier.

Svitolina, who recently returned from maternity leave, emphasized the importance of sports for children and her hopes for her daughter to discover tennis. She is in the same section of the draw as Sabalenka.

The draw ceremony showcased the anticipation for the tournament, which will feature some of the world’s top players. The Foro Italico is expected to be filled with passionate fans eager to witness thrilling matches and the crowning of new champions.

Ukraine Hosts Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier at Amelia Island

Ukraine Hosts Romania in Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier at Amelia Island

The Billie Jean King Cup returns this weekend, with tickets to November’s Finals on the line. Seven nations will play qualifiers in front of local fans on April 12-13, while Ukraine, led by Elina Svitolina, will host Romania at the Omni Amelia Island Resort in Florida.

Ukraine has been forced to find a temporary home for its tie due to the ongoing war in the country. The Svitolina Foundation, which manages the Ukrainian women’s national team, has partnered with the Bush Tennis Center in West Texas to secure the venue.

Svitolina and her teammates have not played a tie within their borders since 2021. The former world No. 3 is excited to be playing in Amelia Island, despite the circumstances.

“We wish we could play a home tie in Ukraine, but due to the war it was not possible,” said Svitolina. “We started our preparation as it’s not that far from Charleston. Which is good for us, because the trip is not that long.”

Romania will be led by Ana Bogdan and Jaqueline Cristian, as Simona Halep has withdrawn with a medical issue. The two singles matches will be contested Friday, with reverse encounters be played out Saturday. If Ukraine and Romania split those, a deciding doubles rubber will determine the advancing nation.

Svitolina is joined by Lesia Tsurenko, Yuliia Starodubtseva, Lyudmyla Kichenok, and Nadiia Kichenok for the showdown on green clay.

Osaka Dominates Svitolina, Sets Up Garcia Rematch in Miami

Osaka Dominates Svitolina, Sets Up Garcia Rematch in Miami

Naomi Osaka’s resurgence continued at the Miami Open on Saturday as she dispatched Elina Svitolina in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (5). The former world No. 1 displayed her best tennis of the year, showcasing her power and precision.

Osaka, who is making her return from maternity leave, has been steadily improving with each match. She credited her coach, Wim Fissette, for helping her regain her form. “I’m definitely feeling more confident and comfortable on the court,” Osaka said. “I’m just trying to take it one match at a time and see how far I can go.”

Against Svitolina, Osaka’s strategy was clear: dictate the rallies and go for winners. She used her powerful serve and groundstrokes to keep Svitolina on the defensive. The Ukrainian fought back in the second set, but Osaka remained composed and closed out the match in a tiebreak.

Osaka’s victory sets up a fourth-round clash with Caroline Garcia, who she has faced three times this year. Osaka leads their head-to-head 2-1, but Garcia won their most recent encounter at the Australian Open.

“She’s an amazing player,” Osaka said of Garcia. “Every match we play is really difficult. It’s just going to be interesting playing on these courts because I really like these hard courts.”

Osaka’s performance in Miami is a promising sign for her return to the top of the women’s game. She is clearly enjoying herself on the court and is playing with a renewed sense of purpose. If she can continue to improve, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming Grand Slams.

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