Four and a half months ago we heard about the love match between Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils. Ever since, the couple has been very public about their relationship and in a column that Svitolina writes for the BBC Sport website during the French Open, the Ukrainian gives more details about the life with her boyfriend and how he’s improving her game.
It all started at a Paris restaurant
Even though they’re both playing the Grand Slam in Paris this fortnight, they can’t enjoy the city together because Monfils is too much of a celebrity in his home country. Still, they managed to revisit their favorite restaurant near the Champs-Elysees, a place where they met!
People recognize him and it is very difficult to have a calm walk through the Champs-Elysees, for example. That means we don’t go out much, but on Wednesday we did go to our favorite restaurant near the Champs-Elysees – it is actually where we met! We love that place. So it is a special place and brings back good memories.
G.E.M.S. Life: What’s the point in hiding?
As you know, Svitolina and Monfils have a joint Instagram account (G.E.M.S. Life), where they post updates about their daily lives off the court. Svitolina recently explained the reasoning behind them being so public about their relationship.
It’s tough to escape when you’re both famous tennis players, it is tough to be really private and I think it is a waste of energy hiding things. Gael is a very open person and for me, it is natural too. If fans want to see something then we will show them and try to share.
It is important not to close yourself and make it uncomfortable. Every week we are under the camera, we can be seen on television supporting each other, so I didn’t see the point of hiding on purpose. I’m sure there are some people, some ‘haters’, who are saying I’ve been playing worse since I’ve been dating Gael, but for me, I don’t think it matters.
“Practicing with Gael is fun and improves me”
It’s common for the tennis audience to blame a WTA player’s bad results on a newly-found romance, but Svitolina doesn’t pay attention to comments of that kind and explains the benefits of having a tennis pro boyfriend.
We were doing a doubles drill from the baseline where I’m attacking the ball and he’s defending – he’s obviously an amazing defender – so it was tough for me to make a winner. He is too fit and too quick and too strong! So that’s why for me it is good. I’m approaching and doing volleys and he is always there. It is good practice for both of us and it’s great fun.
After eliminating tennis legend Venus Williams in the first round of the 2019 French Open and receiving a walkover in the second round, Svitolina plays 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza in a blockbuster of a third-round match in the early afternoon on Friday.