The April 1-9 Credit One Charleston Open will be Elina Svitolina‘s first tournament since giving birth to daughter Skai in October last year.
On March 9, the WTA 500 Charleston event released its preliminary player field that features five Top 10 players, five past champions and four Grand Slam champions. Even though Svitolina was not included in that list, later on Daily Mail reported that the largest women’s-only tennis tournament in North America would be the place of the Ukrainian’s comeback. The Charleston Open is yet to update the player field with the name of Elina Svitolina.
Speaking to Andrew Eichenholz for the ATP website earlier this month, Svitolina’s husband Gael Monfils revealed that she was extremely motivated and excited to come back:
She’s right there. She’s obviously very motivated to come back. It was actually crazy because she just gave birth and obviously she was super happy, but she really wants to get back very quickly in good shape. She wanted to feel that she can play again. She was worried because she hadn’t played for a long time. She picked up the racquet quite good. It was great. Now she’s practising, she’s loving it.
At the time she left the WTA Tour because of pregnancy, Svitolina was ranked No.20. Her last tournament was the 2022 Miami Open. Her current ranking is No.875.
Like other Ukrainian players, Svitolina is against allowing Russian and Belarusian players to compete at tournaments, saying that “it’s pretty much only tennis that is allowing them” and she doesn’t know why that’s the case. The 28-year-old, whose grandmother lives on the 13th floor in Odessa and can barely leave her apartment as the lift doesn’t work, explains her stance:
Mentally it is very tough knowing that maybe there are some players with you in the locker room who are supporting the war. As most of them have not come out with a clear statement you never know what they are really thinking.
Russian ATP player Andrey Rublev and WTA players Daria Kasatkina and Anastasia Pavluychenkova are exempt from Svitolina’s criticism.
UPDATE: A few hours after we published this post, the Credit One Charleston Open confirmed Svitolina’s participation. The new mom has been given a wildcard into the main draw.