Since childhood, she has been dreaming about being famous and being on TV. Before having chosen her sport, she tried herself in gymnastics, swimming and even basketball. She reads a lot and frequently and can’t stay in one place or one country for a long time, her main talisman is a toy-dog. About childhood and the choice of the sport of the best tennis player in the country and the world, her victories and defeats, preparation for tournaments, free time and Ukraine – the way Elina herself sees it in the section “Who is…” from Opinion.
About childhood and the choice of tennis
The parents gave me and my brother the Greek names. His name is Julianus. The parents explained that they wanted to give special names to their children. In the times when I and my brother were born and such names were a rarity.
Our family is sporty. My father was wrestling, my mother was doing water sports.
The sport was defined as follows: in Odesa at the end of the 90s, tennis courts started opening. Mother, father and brother came to try. After a while, brother decided to play tennis professionally. He liked a lot that it’s an individual sport. Brother’s example became a role model for me: you have to work hard to get yourself somewhere.
I was sport-oriented since the early childhood. I was engaged in gymnastics, basketball, running, swimming. I don’t think that my parents somehow directed me. Tennis was something in what I succeeded more. And this, respectively, motivated me more.
When I was four I wished to play tennis for money. Wanted to be on TV, to be known for everyone.
I have a talisman, it’s a toy-dog. It’s with me since I was three and it always goes with me on tournaments. It seems, it hasn’t missed any.
About tennis and sport in general
Sport helps to get over oneself, to keep to the discipline. This daily jogging is very important. Sometimes you don’t want to get up early or you’re too lazy to do exercise. But you have to overcome yourself.
Every finale is a separate test, a separate challenge. Every title brings me something new, helps me.
I don’t care at what time to play. I performed at big tournaments in the morning, in the afternoon and in the night sessions. If somewhere is a serious jet lag, as in Australia, it’s more difficult in the morning, perhaps. Professionals are the people who get used to it quickly. I also try.
I have the biggest contracts with Nike: both advertising and in general and also with Wilson because they’re around the world and there’s a more global picture. I have big contracts in Ukraine too: with the brand “Morshynska”, GEOS, and I’m happy to collaborate with them.
About the training
Discipline is the most important. Sufficient work is needed to better one’s play. I’m result-motivated, that is due to constant work. My parents raised this in me. But there’re days when I take a break. But not for long. After the continuous leisure, the form is lost and it’s more difficult to gain it back. I rarely lie on the sofa and do nothing.
I have a special diary where I write down some moments which I discuss with my coach later if something bothers me. In this way, I jot down some notes about the match because if I write more, everything will mix up in my head. I can write the analysis of match or analysis of the tournament. Will the diaries become the basis for my autobiography? Don’t know.
I set only the highest goals. For example, I was totally sure in the childhood that I won’t lose any finale. I just liked going out on the court and compete. It helped to gain the form and break the new ground.
I do makeups and dress before match myself. It’s important for me to have a good look: both appearance and clothes. You always have to be 100% ready because the cameras and the photographers shoot everywhere. I wear a light makeup, it takes 10 minutes.
The smile is very important for me, so I try to pay many visits to the dentist. Since I raise a lot of trophies, the teeth need to be kept in full order.
About victories and defeats
I love winning, I’m motivated only for the first place. The defeats are very hard for me. If it happens, I need several days to calm down.
After the victory I say to myself: “These two days you can relax a little and celebrate”. Then I have to move further. Sometimes all these emotions after the victory are overshadowed by other important events which surround me.
The defeats don’t influence my confidence. I know that I have the level of the game, I perform well at the big tournaments. I try to work on this – can’t say a problem – but I gather all efforts to do my best at these tournaments.
When I lose, I scarcely cry. I’m more angry with myself that I did something wrong or was prepared not enough.
I always try to look for positive and basically, the day is full of countless good moments which we often miss. That’s how I look at the things and don’t focus on negative emotions.
Since childhood, I proudly represent my country in individual competitions and I play with the great desire for the honour and the flag of Ukraine at the matches of the Federation Cup.
I love Ukraine and I’m happy when my victories and achievements glorify our country worldwide.
I have other important tasks but popularisation of tennis in Ukraine and Ukraine itself around the world is also important. I try to do it as much as possible and I hope I’m coping with it.
Of course, I watch and worry a lot about the situation in the country but I don’t have the opportunity to receive quality and true information about the events all the time. Many really don’t understand why there’re still military actions in the Donbas, which are not officially called military. It hurts me a lot that our boys die in the east of Ukraine and many use it to hone the name and reputation.
I’ve been offered to play for other countries but I don’t even give a thought to it. I always wanted to be in Ukraine and represent the interests of my country. I was born and studied here, return to Ukraine with pleasure when I have free time.
I adore Odesa. It’s the city of my childhood. I love returning there.
About free time
I love learning languages. I learn French, Spanish – everything by bits because I don’t have a lot of free time. Since I have a lot of friends from other countries, I can practice and it’s very interesting for me.
Usually, I read a lot. It’s connected with my constant flights. There’s no other attraction on the plane. And I love travelling. Tennis is a sport which takes off a lot of strength, that’s why it’s better to recover after the matches in a horizontal position. When I don’t read, I watch some educational programs. In general, I try to explore something new and don’t to forget about self-development.
When I’m on holiday, I love spending several days at home, then go somewhere with friends to explore new places. I’m short of time to rest near the sea. Actually, I don’t like staying in one place. Once, I visited four or five countries in one week.
Text by Dmytro Zhuravel
The publication was collected from numerous interviews, speeches, and appeals of material’s protagonist.