June 21, 2024
Elina Svitolina

Elina Svitolina’s journey in tennis is nothing short of glory and success. With 17 WTA tour titles and becoming the first Olympian to win a medal in tennis for Ukraine, she reached a career-high rank of World No. 3 with grace. However, for her, one of the best moments of her life and career is related to none other than Serena Williams. In a recent podcast, she explained how her “confidence” got a boost during the Olympics of 2016.

During a conversation on the podcast Sky Sports Tennis, Elina Svitolina reflected on the three best moments of her life. Of those, her incredible triumph over Serena Williams at the 2016 Rio Olympics stands as the third. “Beating Serena at the Olympics in Brazil. That time I was still very young, and that moment definitely was like a good starting to the future,” she said to the host of the show, Laura Robson.

As she looked back at the triumph, the then-ranked 20th in the world spoke about how she considered it the defining moment of her career. “My confidence was great, and for people also in Ukraine at the time, it was amazing… It was an extremely tough match…I was down and out.” Through her victory over then-World No. 1, she not only etched her name in the history of sports, but it also resonated deeply with the people of her country, Ukraine.

Furthermore, from the five times they had previously met at that time, the meet at Rio was the first time Elina was able to break the winning streak of Williams. The following year, she overcame her countrywoman, Alona Bondarenko, to become the first Ukrainian woman to earn a place in the top 10.

Therefore, it indeed became a special victory for her while in her journey to success. Even after that match, her opponent, Serena Williams, could not help but appreciate her performance.

“She played really well,” said Serena Williams after her loss against Svitolina
The then-22-year-old Svitolina defeated the defending champion with a score of 6-4, 6-3. With that, the 34-year-old’s reign at the Olympics came to an end for that year. Serena Williams, who was visibly disappointed, pointed out, “She played really well, and I think the better player won today.”

On the other hand, Svitolina’s joy was apparent. After the match, she said, “I consider it the biggest win of my career because it’s at the Olympics. Right now, I’m in the clouds. I can’t even believe it because truly, it was incredible.”

Even after eight years of that triumph, her amazement remains the same. Although she did not qualify past the quarterfinals that year. But, later on, she earned a bronze medal for her country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, for her, the 2016 Olympics still remain one of the best moments of her life, and rightly so!

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