Elina Svitolina kicked off her clay swing a little under a week ago in Stuttgart. There, the Ukrainian produced a spectacular clash, saving two match points against Petra Kvitova, who was defending the title in the German city. Although she would lose in the semi-finals -despite serving for the match- against eventual champion Ashleigh Barty, Svitolina comes to Madrid in good form.
“It’s always nice to play the big tournaments because obviously you have big motivation. Yeah, I’m happy to be here, and I don’t really think about any other things”, explained the Ukrainian. The match against Kvitova, a three-time champion in Madrid, will undoubtedly bolster her confidence for the Mutua Madrid Open.
Looking back at her past performances there, it is possible that the Caja Mágica is something of a monkey on Svitolina’s back. In six appearances, she has never progressed past the second round. Rather than arriving with low expectations, though, the Ukrainian’s philosophy is an optimistic one.
“For sure I think the previous experience of what has been working, what hasn’t been working, that’s definitely important”, she offered. “Here there is a little bit of altitude, a little bit of different conditions to all the tournaments in general on clay, because normally clay is playing a bit slow. Here pretty much it’s the quickest that we play on”.
“I just try to — each year for sure it’s playing slightly differently because each year you are a slightly different player”, she smiled. “That’s why you have to start from the beginning but with the little baggage of the experience”.
Svitolina will open her 2021 Mutua Madrid Open campaign against the Swiss Jil Teichmann, the world No. 40. It will be their second encounter, the first coming in Strasburg in 2020, where Svitolina was crowned champion.