By Scoop Malinowski
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, 24, the number seven ranked player in the world, is an avid follower of her countrymen champion boxers, the former Heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk. She also became a supporter of the man who ended Wladimir Klitschko’s illustrious career in April 2017.
“I’m a big fan of (Anthony) Joshua’s,” Svitolina told the London Telegraph this week, as she prepared for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, which start on Sunday. “I started following him after he fought Klitschko, so it was very interesting to watch his fight (against Povetkin).”
Joshua stopped Klitschko is a thrilling, spectacular clash of titans in a filled to capacity soccer stadium in London, which famed ring announcer Michael Buffer called one of the top atmospheres he’s ever experienced in his four decade long career in boxing. Joshua not only won the slugfest but he did it with class and nobility, earning rave reviews from Klitschko himself.
“In Ukraine, boxing is a huge sport. They have lots of great boxers. I follow Joshua on his social media channels and watch the incredible work outs he does – I find them really interesting.”
Ukrainians Usyk and Lomachenko are widely considered to be the very best gladiators in the sport today, with their creative, multi-dimensional boxing styles and extreme dedication to fitness.
Svitolina has won seven WTA singles titles in her career and was once ranked 3 in the world. She is at the doorstep of becoming a Grand Slam champion but it has not happened yet. In 25 Grand Slam appearances, Svitolina has only reached the quarterfinal three times. So she is looking for that additional mental boost to take her to the very top of tennis, like her inspirations Usyk, Joshua and Lomachenko.
After losing in the first round of Wimbledon this year, Svitolina decided to make changes to her fitness routine and diet by implementing boxing gym workouts.
“It was something I was looking to make changes to (her body shape) and see how it would go,” Svitolina said. “There will be ups and downs but I’m moving in the right direction. I’m happy with the way I’m moving on court now. I’m happy with my body. It takes time to adjust. But I’m still in the top eight of the world, so for me it’s important to try something new that can help.”
Svitolina opened her WTA Finals campaign in Singapore today with an impressive 63 63 win vs two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, a player she had not beaten since 2014.