Svitolina: I left everything out there

Former world No.3 is proud of quarter-final run after a year out from competition

Elina Svitolina, quarts de finale, Roland-Garros 2023©Julien Crosnier / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

Elina Svitolina simply couldn't have given more.

Playing in her first Grand Slam since Australian Open 2022 and her first major as a mother, the Ukrainian soared all the way into the quarter-finals here at Roland-Garros 2023. The journey ended in a valiant 6-4, 6-4 defeat to world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday.

Svitolina gave birth in October 2022 to daughter Skai and then put in the gruelling work to rise back up the rankings. No wonder she was brimming with pride.

"I tried to put it like I have nothing to lose. I was coming to this tournament with zero hopes, with zero expectations for myself," she said.

"Of course, [I'm] disappointed that I didn't go further today, but I did my best. I left everything out there."

The Ukrainian narrowly missed out on her first Grand Slam semi-final since US Open 2019, but her performance in Paris this spring is impressive nonetheless; following her maternity leave, the 28-year-old had to regain her tennis form and fitness almost from scratch before returning to competition in April.

Elina Svitolina, quarter-final, Roland-Garros 2023© Julien Crosnier/FFT

"Physically, I was trying to come back because of obviously not playing. Not taking [up] the racquet for eight months, you need to work on everything, to play again at a good level, to be able to compete against top players, try to improve everything, starting from the serve, and ending with physical, mental conditions," she said.

"Everything has to be started again, and that's why I'm really proud of these past days that I have been playing lots of intense matches, where I showed a good level of tennis. Just lots of things positive from these matches that I played in Strasbourg and here, of course."

Her first comeback tournament was Charleston on clay in the USA two months ago. Prior to coming to Paris, the current world No.192 put together an 8-6 match record, which included lifting the Strasbourg trophy on the eve of Roland-Garros.

It's not just tennis that Svitolina has had to consider, either. Starting a family and dealing with the ongoing situation in her homeland have preoccupied her too.

"This year was difficult and different on the court, off the court and overcoming difficulties, as well," she added.

In purely tennis terms, Svitolina has been boosted beyond belief in Paris.


"Even though I'm sitting here dealing with it [defeat] today, I feel like I won in so many ways.

"Definitely Strasbourg and Roland-Garros inspired me to continue working hard, to continue doing steps on the practice court, that I'm doing the right things," said the 17-time title winner.

"Of course, I want to win every time I step on the court, but sometimes, from the tough matches, you can see what you need to improve, where are you with your game.

"Just lots of good things that are gonna push me and give me the confidence to move forward for the next tournaments."

Elina Svitolina, quarter-final, Roland-Garros 2023© Julien Crosnier/FFT