How did the meeting with its fans of “number one tennis player” of Ukraine pass, and why not all of them were able to get the desired autograph?
Well-known Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina visited Kyiv, where in one of the shopping centers she attended the meeting with her fans. Now Elina is emotionally charged after her victory. Not so long ago, Ukrainian “number one tennis player” finished the season with an incredible result. For the first time in her career, Elina became the winner of the WTA finals in Singapore. It seems that all sports fans of Ukraine watched this fight – in a crucial confrontation, our athlete defeated a pretty strong rival, American Sloane Stephens, with a score of 3: 6, 6: 2, 6: 2. The fight on the tennis court lasted for 2 hours and 25 minutes.
“After winning the tournament, it seemed that I’ve lost consciousness. I don’t remember what happened in the next few minutes. I didn’t keep my emotions, I just rejoiced of such a difficult and important victory,” Elina said at the meeting. Actually, with a question about her impression of a successful performance in Singapore the conversation with fans had begun.
It seems that neither organizers of meeting with a star tennis player nor Elina herself hadn’t expected such a crowd. More than 300 fans came to the shopping center. And after a conversation in the format of a collective interview, the queue for an autograph and a photo kept for an hour.
How it happened
There are not so many meetings of athletes with fans in Kyiv. Therefore, each of them is some kind of experiment. Elina’s team decided to divide the event into three parts – first sincere conversation with fans, then an autograph session and, finally, a photo session. I must say that this was not the best decision. The first part passed almost perfectly – the host of the meeting gave an opportunity to ask questions to almost everyone. Of course, he gave the priority to little kids with large tennis rackets in their hands. However, the second and the third part of the event simply overwhelmed everybody. Fans had to stay in the queue for the autograph (Elina was giving them away on the posters with her image), however, they had no right to be photographed with the athlete. Happy fans after the first “contact” with their idol went to the second queue – now, just for the photo. There were so many people that the event was expectedly delayed. With each new autograph, it was clear that the athlete is physically exhausted, and that greeting fans and smiling to them was getting harder. Svitolina really signed all the photos on her own, though, it seems that it was possible to make it in advance. After miscalculations with the format of the meeting, in the third part organizers asked fans to come for a joint photo with the star in “groups of five people”. So, in a picture with your idol, you will also have an image of another four unknown people to remember.
What were the questions of fans?
During the meeting, Elini over two dozen questions were given to Elina. Fans were interested in her impressions of victories, secrets of preparations before the final matches. They asked whom she considers her main rivals, why men’s tennis in Ukraine is much weaker than women’s, and most often – which goals are set up for the new season.
“The tournament was very difficult. We know that the top eight players are taking part there, and because of this, each meeting is incredibly hard. This is the last tournament for this year, and everyone is trying to show their results for 100%. Each match was like the finale of any other tournament. The game took away a lot of powers – psychological, physical, so the tournament was very difficult, said the tennis player. She admitted that she was nervous before the match and that it is absolutely normal.
“When so many people look at you at the stadium, they support you all over the world, it excites you. But, once you start playing, you have only a ball, a racket and you need to hit as strong as possible. Then unwittingly you forget about everything and play as if you are 7 years old – simply and with dedication,” says Elina Svitolina
“There are a lot of tasks for the next year. Among them – to become a “number one tennis player” in the world and win the Grand Slam Tournament. I am moving in the right direction, I always improve my rating. I’ll try to train hard to play as best as possible. The first Grand Slam tournament will be held in Melbourne in January 2019. It is very difficult for all tennis players. It is the first in the year and the first after exhausting training in December. This tournament always shows who “slacked”, and who really trained. It will be a difficult tournament, we’ll see how I play, but I think that I gained a lot of experience during Singapore competition and I can use it in the right direction,” summed up the Ukrainian.
At the end of the meeting Elina admitted that in big sports every day, everything can go not the way you want. “We need to train and constantly work on ourselves. But even if you fall, stand up and go further to a new goal,” – added the athlete. “I was a very shy child, I was afraid to play tennis against other children. I loved to play one on one with a coach. I’ve never had a ‘Rock-star syndrome’, neither in childhood nor now. If I somehow played wrong, if I didn’t properly finish the rival or relaxed … my parents will always tell me about it.”
Text and photo by Vadym Lubchak