Dubai: Two-time champion Elina Svitolina is hoping for a third breakthrough in Dubai by the end of this week.
A champion here in 2017 and 2018, the 25-year-old Ukrainian feels she is primed for a third crown despite a strong field of players at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open this week.
Seeded third and one of the three wild card entries, Svitolina will take on a lucky loser in the first round in Dubai on Tuesday.
“I try to take one day at a time. I don’t rush things. I try to just prepare well, feel good being out there. For me for sure it’s nice to be back here where I have great memories. That’s what matters for me for now,” Svitolina told media at the round-table meeting on Sunday.
“I won this tournament twice, so definitely I did something right before. I just have to try to find the way to get into the same routine and playing well. It’s more about confidence than pressure,” she added.
Another factor working in her favour is the few weeks Svitolina spent in Dubai during her pre-season training at the end of 2019, combining tennis with fun activities like a trip to Ferrari World. Svitolina, who has been in a relationship with French player Gael Monfils since 2019, now has houses in London and Monte Carlo.
The new season was not taken off as she had planned as Svitolina lost in the first round to Danielle Collins in Brisbane and then went down in Round Three to eventual runner-up Garbine Muguruza at the Australian Open. “For me, I think the main goal now would be trying to find back my game, rhythm and stay healthy throughout the year,” she related.
“When I feel good, I can play on a high level. For me being healthy and playing consistent, that’s how I get back on the top and staying there as well,” Svitolina added.
Shrugging off a lukewarm start to the season, Svitolina said: “I just try to focus on positive things. I think in the end, I didn’t play bad so far. I’m on the right way. I have to work really hard on the court to be ready for the challenge,” she observed.
“Now everyone is super fit. Every single match from the beginning of the tournament is important. You have to be 100 per cent on it. That’s what I am trying to work on,” Svitolina added.
Looking ahead, she is also planning for a strong finish in her debut Olympic Games in Tokyo later this year. “As it is the Olympic year, it’s important for me to play well at the Olympics and try to get a gold for Ukraine. The Grand Slams, of course, are always the ultimate goal though for every tennis player,” she said.