Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina thrashed Russia’s Anastasia Potapova in straight sets (Pictures: Getty)

Ukrainian tennis star speaks out after thrashing Russian: 'I was on a mission'

by · Metro

Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina says she was on a ‘mission for my country’ after thrashing Russia’s Anastasia Potapova in straight sets at the Monterrey Open in Mexico.

The former world number three had initially refused to play the match following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but changed her stance after the Women’s Tennis Association decided to ban Russian players from competing under the name and flag of their country.

Svitolina dressed in Ukraine’s blue and gold colours for the match and produced a dominant display, beating Potapova 6-2 6-1 in front of a supportive crowd.

The players exchanged a few words at the net following the match before an emotional Svitolina thanked the fans for their support and addressed the situation in her home country.

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She said: ‘Today it was a very special match for me. I’m in a very sad mood, but I’m happy that I’m playing tennis here.

‘I was focused. I was on a mission for my country. From the beginning, it was important to be ready for anything that comes my way.’

On her decision to play the match, the 27-year-old added: ‘I think it’s my mission to unite our tennis community to stand with Ukraine, to help Ukraine because what we’re going through is a horrible thing for all Ukrainians.

‘That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m playing for my country and doing my best using my platform and using my resources to introduce that and try to invite people to support Ukraine.’

Svitolina has said she will donate her prize money from the tournament to the Ukrainian army, who are currently battling Russia in several cities, including the capital of Kyiv.

More to follow…