Younger players have been having major success on the women's tour recently, but No. 5 Elina Svitolina is drawing motivation from those who have taken a longer road to the top.
Bianca Andreescu (19), Naomi Osaka (20) and Sofia Kenin (21) all triumphed on the Grand Slam stage early on, but Simona Halep's first came as a 26-year-old and Caroline Wozniacki's as a 27-year-old. Svitolina won the 2018 WTA Finals, but she has yet to contest a major final. Svitolina produced her best showings last year, when she reached consecutive semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open.
“In recent years, we see that tennis players had different paths to victory,” Svitolina told BTU. “Someone won right away as soon as they announced themselves on the tour. Others patiently gained experience to finally win the major, for example, such as Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.
“Different paths are also due to different styles of play. It gives me hope and energy to work hard so that one day I can take this chance. The key point for me is to keep my best level for two weeks.”
Svitolina has adjusted her team several times in recent years in order to do just that. Andrew Bettles, who has coached the 25-year-old for a while, was joined recently by retired ATP player Marcos Baghdatis this season. While Svitolina says she has the game, a lot goes into finding it at the right times.
“This requires a lot of effort, both psychological and physical," she said. “Everything should work at the same time. And you need to add a little luck.”
But she's not yet sure whether the next shot will come at the US Open.
“They [the WTA] organize video conferences every week, sometimes they invite ITF or USTA representatives, since the center of discussions is now the US Open,” Svitolina said. “So they inform us. But I think it all depends on local authorities. As we can see, the rules vary from country to country, changes occur every week. There are still many unanswered questions.”
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