Ukrainian tennis star Svitolina has pledged to give all the money she wins at upcoming WTA competitions to support military and relief efforts in her homeland.
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Born in Odessa, a city on Ukraine’s southern coast, Svitolina is still a resident of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, about 20 miles from the Russian border, where she and her family moved when she still a teenager.
However, she spends most of her time living and training abroad and is currently in Monterrey, Mexico to attend a tournament.
Talking about the ongoing fighting in her homeland, the 27-year-old said she decided to commit to financial support because otherwise she feels “completely useless”.
“Really until the very last moment, we didn’t believe this war would really start and then everything just happened at night… Everyone was terrified, everyone was heartbroken,” she said. with Eurosport.
“My family is there. A lot of my friends have not left the country there. They are fighting for their lives, some of them are fighting for our country.
“It took a lot of courage and it was unbelievable that some people took up arms and went to fight for our land.
“The most painful thing I have to say is that I feel completely useless because I want to help them. I want to do something for them.
“Some of my friends have no electricity, no water, no food. They are really struggling.”
Svitolina is about to play her first match at Monterrey Open on Tuesday, and was drawn as the first seed against Anastasia Potapova of Russia.
All the money she won at those three events will be donated to her efforts to support and liberate her homeland, she said.
“So I decided that the prize money from my upcoming tournaments in Mexico and in the United States would go to the Ukrainian Army and to humanitarian needs,” she confirmed.
“So like this, I can help my country. And this, I think is the right thing to do at the moment. And I want to do something and help my country.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/tennis/elina-svitolina-ukraine-money-russia-26351006 WTA star Elina Svitolina donates bounties to Ukrainian military and relief efforts