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Moment heartbroken Ukrainian Wimbledon star Elina Svitolina breaks down in tears on court over kids’ hospital attack

UKRAINIAN Elina Svitolina broke down in tears on court after beating Wang Xinyu to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals, less than a day on from Russia’s latest devastating attack on Kyiv.

Svitolina, 29, received special approval from the All England Club to wear a black ribbon on her Wimbledon whites in honour of those who were killed in Ukraine last night.

Rex

Elina Svitolina wore a black ribbon on her Wimbledon kit[/caption]

Reuters

Svitolina, 29, gave an emotional interview on court[/caption]

BBC

The Ukrainian was left devastated by the evil attacks on her country last night[/caption]

Russia’s horrifying blitz included a hypersonic missile striking a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

At least 32 people were killed in Vladimir Putin‘s latest evil attack.

Amid the horrors going on back home, Odesa-born Svitolina took on Chinese star Wang on No2 Court for a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

The former world No3 produced an excellent performance to win 6-2 6-1 in just 56 minutes.

During her on court interview she fought through tears as she referenced the atrocities being committed by Russia on her home country.

She said: “It’s a very difficult day today for Ukrainian people.

“It was not easy to focus today on the match. Since the morning it’s very difficult to read the news, so just to go on the court is extremely tough.”

When later asked about her black ribbon, Svitolina explained: “It’s been approved by Wimbledon today, the black ribbon. I feel like it would be understandable after such a big attack for my country.”

On trying to raise awareness for her country’s plight through her tennis, Svitolina said: “This is one of the things that motivated me today, was just I have to put my head down and show up and do my best, my very best.

“Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, to raise money, to help in every possible way they can.


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“My way is through tennis. This what’s really motivated me today to do something. I tried to be focused on my job, tried to be focused on what I can control. Just do what I can in a way.

“I’m playing, of course, such an amazing event as Wimbledon. I have to also think about how I can use that in a way for Ukrainian people.

“At least with my win today, it was a small light that brought a happy moment for Ukrainian people. I got so many messages today. The people are thankful for my performance, for my win today.

“Of course, it brings me a lot of joy in a way of this sad day.”

In 2022, Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in the Championships.

‘WE TRIED EVERY POSSIBLE WAY’

After no tour events outside of the UK, or Grand Slams, followed suit, and amid pressure of sanctions from the ATP and WTA, Wimbledon chiefs reluctantly reversed their stance last year.

Asked if she’d rather Russian athletes were not playing, Svitolina said: “Of course, I would prefer that. But it is how it is now. I cannot change. We tried every possible way to talk with many organisations.

“For now I just want to raise awareness, to raise funds for people in need, to raise support for the kids through my foundation, through United24. So many ways we can help people and not only focus on the things we cannot control.”

Svitolina will play 2022 champion Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals.

Rybakina was born in Moscow and previously played under the Russian flag, but switched nationalities to Kazakhstan in 2018.

Since the war broke out in 2022, Ukrainian players have not shaken hands with their Russian counterparts after matches.

Asked if she would shake Rybakina’s hand tomorrow, Svitolina said: “She changed her nationality, so it means she doesn’t want to represent her original country, so it works.”

AP

Svitolina received an amazing reception from the No2 Court crowd[/caption]

Getty

Former champion Elena Rybakina is next up for Svitolina[/caption]

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