Elina Svitolina on facing Venus Williams at French Open, her injury battle and Gael Monfils


World amount nine Elina Svitolina, who has won 13 singles titles on the WTA Tour, will be writing columns for the BBC Sport website online for the length of the French Originate, which runs from 26 Could presumably to 9 June.

The Ukrainian, seeded nine, is hoping for a a hit flee in Paris, having radically change is called one in every of the WTA’s leading players on the clay, twice reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

The 24-one year-ancient, who used to be a career high rating of three final one year, has struggled with a knee bother in most modern months, that approach she has no longer won on clay this one year.

In her first column, she talks about how she felt being drawn against Venus Williams within the main round, how the problem has affected her create and her a lot-publicised romance with fellow tennis player Gael Monfils.

I grew up on clay courts in Ukraine and taking half in on the floor is quite cherish taking half in at home – so for that reason Roland Garros is my current Exceptional Slam.

Nonetheless within the main round I’ve presumably got one in every of the hardest attracts I may perchance well additionally catch got – Venus Williams.

I also started my title defence at the Italian Originate in Rome against Victoria Azarenka so it’s one other complex contrivance.

I plan no longer know why I got this punishment!

Defending champion Svitolina lost 6-4 1-6 5-7 to Victoria Azarenka in Rome

I was surely talking no longer too lengthy ago with Gael about drawing Venus, about drawing somebody who is a pleasant champion, a tale of our sport and has won seven Exceptional Slams.

Gael told me it’d be moderately some contrivance for somebody – and now I’m taking half in her. It is miles so laughable!

She’s a job model for tons of athletes and girls in traditional, both her and Serena, what they plan for our sport is great. They are quiet competing, Serena coming help after having a minute one, they’re quiet top players.

It is principal to catch a complete bunch self-discipline to care for coming help and having this type of pleasant and lengthy career.

I catch played her a couple of instances, and Serena as smartly, and as I do know a minute more about this expertise, I’m more relaxed and focusing on what I’m doing and what’s in my energy.

It is principal to be ready mentally and bodily while you might additionally very smartly be taking half in one in every of the sector’s greats.

‘Every match will be cherish a final after bother concerns’

Elina Svitolina has played Venus Williams twice, a hit once and shedding once

We had some thoughts that I would no longer be ready for Roland Garros on tale of of my knee bother, nonetheless I was 99% obvious I was going to play on tale of it’s my current Slam.

I’m in a position to be surely upset if I didn’t create it so we did all the pieces in our energy to surely concentrate on restoration and being at the least 80% ready.

Nonetheless that approach I plan no longer catch any expectations for this match.

What I catch been thru has no longer been easy on tale of it’s the main time I’ve had this type of setback cherish this and struggling with a bother cherish that.

I want to catch it one match at a time. Every match that I get to play right here will be cherish a final for me.

After I got injured it used to be within the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships against Belinda Bencic the get I led 5-3 within the deciding location earlier than shedding 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-3).

I started feeling worse and worse in direction of the cease of the match after which I had some scans in Indian Wells. They told me the patella used to be a minute bit broken.

I needed to play Indian Wells and I was in excellent create, so reaching the semi-final there too used to be a legitimate outcome. Then my physique said ‘no’.

I couldn’t surely play in Miami which used to be disappointing on tale of I belief I had excellent create after which I took six weeks off.

Slowly I tried to practise on the clay nonetheless clay is more difficult to cross so or no longer it’s some distance basic to be surely bodily and belief your physique. That is what we’ve been working on and making an strive to prepare.

After I made up our minds to play in Madrid and Rome – the get I lost both suits – I said to myself I want to evaluate what I plan on court, no longer about bother.

Blockading out bother will likely be very complex nonetheless it surely is about expertise, being real mentally and no longer letting negative thoughts catch over.

‘Hiding our relationship will likely be smash of energy’

Svitolina and Monfils fragment an Instragram tale

Gael and I catch been very public about our relationship and that comprises having a joint Instagram tale.

It is complex to flee while you might additionally very smartly be both eminent tennis players, it’s complex to be surely private and I judge it’s a smash of energy hiding issues.

Gael is a extraordinarily open particular person and for me it’s pure too. If fans want to catch a look at something then we are going to keep them and strive to fragment.

It is severe no longer to shut your self and create it dejected.

A week we’re under the camera, we are going to also be seen on television supporting every moderately a couple of, so I didn’t survey the level of hiding on reason.

I’m obvious there are some of us, some ‘haters’, who’re asserting I have been taking half in worse since I have been relationship Gael, nonetheless for me I plan no longer judge it matters.

I surely feel delighted within the meanwhile and for me it’s severe. After I’m on court I’m pondering handiest about what I want to plan and after I’m off court I’m taking half in my lifestyles and my time for him.

Right here’s the main time I’m taking half in in entrance of a French crowd with Gael as my boyfriend so I am going to want to catch a look at if I get more make stronger on tale of of him. Even though I do know I won’t get as a lot make stronger as he does, obviously.

Star-studded gala provides inspiration for Ukraine work

Svitolina attended a gala match with the likes of Eva Longoria in Cannes on Thursday evening

On Thursday I went to Cannes to again a gala for AmfAR – it’s a charity which fights Aids and they retain a eminent annual fundraising match.

It used to be amazing to catch a look at so many stars – Eva Longoria, Milla Jovovich, Antonio Banderas and Tom Jones were all there – coming collectively to abet battle what’s severe on the earth.

I catch a foundation in Ukraine and catch been taking a survey to retain a an identical create of match which can well presumably elevate money for keep contemporary tennis companies and products to be outdated by Ukrainian kids.

That would indicate building contemporary courts all over Ukraine, which is severe on tale of some cities want them in faculties.

We’re working surely exhausting to hunt down resources, it’s powerful, nonetheless we’re slowly making an strive to get a legitimate group to attain our perform.

I also catch connections now with tennis academies at some level of Europe so one other perform is to catch a look at if we are going to get kids, who want abet with narrate or a coaching defective, into areas in France or England or Germany.

So it used to be crucial to again the match in Cannes to catch a look at the contrivance in which it used to be organised, check with of us how they flee the match, and it used to be a pleasant expertise.

Elina Svitolina used to be talking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko.

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