Moscow, Russia, WTA Premier, VTB Kremlin Cup, 932 000 USD, hard, indoor: 1R, Daria KASATKINA (RUS) - Lesia TSURENKO (UKR) 6-4 7-6(1), 2R: Alize CORNET (FRA) 3-6 7-5 6-4, QF: Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA (RUS) 6-4 6-3, SF: Johanna KONTA (GBR)? -? ; Osaka, Japan, junior ITF, Osaka Mayor's Cup - World Super Junior Tennis Championships 2018, Grade A, hard, outdoor: 1R, Pavel SHUMEIKO (UKR) - Shoei MIZUGUCHI (JPN) 6-2 6-0, 2R: Ryuhei AZUMA (JPN) 2-6 2-6; Yerevan, Armenia, junior ITF, Autumn Cup, Grade 5, clay, outdoor: 1R, Oleksiy SHESTAKOV (UKR) - Eremey KOTSELYUK (RUS) 6-1 4-6 6-0, 2R: Nikita FIALTOV (RUS) 6-2 6-1, QF: Henadzi HRABAVETS (BLR) 3-6 6-2 6-1, SF: Matei Victor PALCAU (ROU)? -? ; Luxembourg, Luxembourg, WTA International, BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, 250 000 USD, hard, indoor: 1R, Anna BLINKOVA (RUS) - Tatjana MARIA (GER) 6-2 7-5, 2R: Julia GOERGES (GER) 1-6 4-6; 1R, Kateryna KOZLOVA (UKR) - Dalila JAKUPOVIC (SLO) 6-7(3) 6-3 4-.

Moscow, Russia, WTA Premier, VTB Kremlin Cup, 932 000 USD, hard, indoor: 1R, Daria KASATKINA (RUS) - Lesia TSURENKO (UKR) 6-4 7-6(1), 2R: Alize CORNET (FRA) 3-6 7-5 6-4, QF: Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA (RUS) 6-4 6-3, SF: Johanna KONTA (GBR)? -? ; Osaka, Japan, junior ITF, Osaka Mayor's Cup - World Super Junior Tennis Championships 2018, Grade A, hard, outdoor: 1R, Pavel SHUMEIKO (UKR) - Shoei MIZUGUCHI (JPN) 6-2 6-0, 2R: Ryuhei AZUMA (JPN) 2-6 2-6; Yerevan, Armenia, junior ITF, Autumn Cup, Grade 5, clay, outdoor: 1R, Oleksiy SHESTAKOV (UKR) - Eremey KOTSELYUK (RUS) 6-1 4-6 6-0, 2R: Nikita FIALTOV (RUS) 6-2 6-1, QF: Henadzi HRABAVETS (BLR) 3-6 6-2 6-1, SF: Matei Victor PALCAU (ROU)? -? ; Luxembourg, Luxembourg, WTA International, BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open, 250 000 USD, hard, indoor: 1R, Anna BLINKOVA (RUS) - Tatjana MARIA (GER) 6-2 7-5, 2R: Julia GOERGES (GER) 1-6 4-6; 1R, Kateryna KOZLOVA (UKR) - Dalila JAKUPOVIC (SLO) 6-7(3) 6-3 4-.

Elina Svitolina had the best year in her career: She was surprised, what she found in Trnava

Ukrainian member of EMPIRE Tennis Academy Elina Svitolina has reached No. 3 at WTA ranking at September 2017, but she still has a big goal in her mind. She wants to be on the top of the ranking one day. With the team she hired at December 2016, she was able to win five tournaments last season, but 23 year old player wants more. That's the reason why Elina has worked so hard during off season too. Although she is very busy, she was willing to speak with us in Trnava at the beginning of December when she was visiting the club.

You are a star of EMPIRE Tennis Academy at Trnava. How did you get there?

"It was two years ago. I was training here and spotted this club had all the conditions I needed to train hard. You don't have so many distractions. You can really focus on tennis. I have found here all this kinds of vital things which professional tennis player needs. I think this is the perfect place to improve your game."

Are you enjoying coming back to Trnava?

"Yes, it's really nice. I have got here very warm welcome. I have good feeling when I am traveling to this club. For me, it is important to know that everything is professional on this place."

Are you satisfied with the last season?

"Off course I am happy with the season but I always want more. I want to finish even higher in the ranking. It didn´t happen, but I still have a lot of time. I am so glad I was handling tough moments, play solid under pressure so for me it was great season. I can say it."

How difficult it is for you to play under pressure?

"Every player has their own unique way how to handle it. For me, it is important to adjust the game little bit. To be really focused on what you have to do against the other player. You have to be mentally tough and ready but it's just the part of tennis. You need to live with it. I'm trying to work very hard with my team and improve every aspect of my game. I am very happy that we are moving the right way."

Do you remember the feeling when you became for the first time in your career No. 3 in the world?

"Great feeling, but this kind of ranking wasn't surprise for me as I won the five tournaments during the season. It was obvious I am going higher. But this a was good moment and brought me a lot of confidence. But still I have big goal in my mind – to be No. 1 one day."

How far is from the player like you to jump from No. 3 to No. 1?

"I hope that is not so far and it will be possible. But you need to be very consistent. To play good and be ready on the each tournament in your calendar. Be healthy and show your best game during whole season. I will aim for this in the next season but I know very well it's gonna be very tough. But I think I am ready."

Do you really feel it's possible to go higher?

"Of course. Otherwise I wouldn't play. To be No. 1 is something very special for all the athletes. Everyone is aiming for this. Is it big goal for everyone."

You have become not only No. 3 in the ranking during last season, but also first Ukrainian women at Top 10 ever. Which moment do you prefer?

"Maybe to be No. 3, but the other moment was also sweet."

You have won five tournaments this year – Taiwan Open at Taipei, at Dubai, Istanbul, Rome and Toronto. Which one was the most difficult for you?

"Rome was very tough. The prestige of the tournament was very high. You always have lot of pressure, when you play this kind of tournament. Also winning title in Toronto, where I beat four players from Top Ten, was very tough. All the matches I have played there were extremely difficult to win, but I went through this. For me it was one of the best moments this season."

What is the difference between Elina Svitolina from 2016 and Elina Svitolina from 2017?

"The difference is not the age but the work I did with my team. I was able to change the structure of my trainings to play big tournaments. Of course, there is still a room for improvement. I am looking forward to start the new season. Although I am having the off season now, I am training very hard. I need to play well and to be ready for big moments. I have also had a new team since December last year. You always need time when you have the new team. Is does not happen overnight to find out what you need to do with new members. But now I really have the proper time with my team and my coach."

Who are the members of your team?

"My main coaches are Thierry Ascione, the former coach of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gabriel Urpi from Spain. Both of them are helping me a lot. And also a fitness coach Oliver Fawls from England is with me. My sparring partner Andrew Bettles is also Englishman. He always travels with me. Then I have a physio as well. It’s quite a big team."

Why did you decide to change the team before 2016 season? To split with the main coach Ian Hughes?

"I did it because when you see your improvement has stopped you need to change something. It always takes time to be as one all together, but now, everything is OK. I am very happy with it this moment. You need to have fresh things."

What is your big goal for this season? What is you plan for the upcoming months?

"It is always the same. I want to give one hundred percent into the next match at each tournament."

What are you doing when you have spare time?

"I like to go home because I don't spend so much time there. I am yearning to spend some moments with my family. During tournaments, it is not possible because I really focus on the games and rest a lot. I think it's the big part of tennis – to recover and be ready mentally and physically. You have to do that properly. But I am still a normal girl. I still like to go out with my friends, go sightseeing, when I am in new city. I like new things. Also I read a lot, it helps me lot and changes my head out of tennis."

Your father Mikhaylo Svitolin was a successful wrestler, which sport – beside tennis – are you fond of?

"Soccer as many other Ukrainians."

Photos by: 
Ivan Kopčáni, www.empire-tennis-academy.com
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