Elina Svitolina Makes Her Tennis Return – And Helps Lead Ukraine Relief Efforts

Elina Svitolina Makes Her Tennis Return – And Helps Lead Ukraine Relief Efforts

Elina Svitolina, right, with Credit One Charleston Open tournament director Bob Moran at the Tennis Plays for Peace Pro-Am. (Reese Moore/Charleston Open)

Ranked as high as world No.3 and with 16 career victories to her name, Elina Svitolina is back on the WTA Tour for the first time in 12 months and with a new title to her name: Mom.

Svitolina – who gave birth to daughter Skaï in October – partnered with the Credit One Charleston Open and WTA Charities to host a Tennis Plays for Peace Pro-Am event, featuring over a dozen WTA stars and 24 lucky local tennis enthusiasts on Sunday morning.

The $100,000 raised will benefit the Elina Svitolina Foundation as it continues to bring awareness and support to Ukraine amidst the war there. It’s the second consecutive year of the Pro-Am in Charleston.

“I’m really thankful to all the players and the tournament to make this happen,” Svitolina said. “It’s really important to continue helping Ukrainian people. This is really special that we can help in many different ways.”

Svitolina was joined by WTA stars including local favorites Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers as well as countrywoman Anhelina Kalinina.

“It’s so great to see everyone coming together to support my home of Ukraine,” Kalinina said. “Events like these are so important to keep Ukraine top of mind, and we appreciate the help of the local community here.”

“Increasing awareness and raising funds for Ukraine is very important to us as a tournament and to our players,” said Bob Moran, tournament director. “We are passionate about working with Elina, who has a deep and personal understanding of the needs in her home country right now.”

Svitolina is set to play her first WTA event since Miami 2022. She and partner Gael Monfils announced they were expecting a baby in May of 2022, with Skaï being born in mid-October.

“I missed the crowd… walking on court and these moments, this buzz – I really missed that,” Svitolina admitted.

“It’s really exciting to be back on tour. For sure, it’s different now. But in so many ways it’s amazing. I love being here in Charleston.”

“I feel ready. It’s going to be a long way to be back where I have been, but I am excited for the challenge.”

Anhelina Kalinina