Indian Wells, USA
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Indian Wells, USA
Elina Svitolina hosts "Tennis with the Stars" to provide relief for Ukrainian refugees
"I'm really thankful to all the people who stand for Ukraine and for people living in Ukraine going through hell," she told Tennis Channel.
Published Mar 09, 2022
It has officially been two weeks since the war between Ukraine and Russia ignited and no end is in sight. In the heart of the California desert on Tuesday afternoon, Elina Svitolina walked into the Omni Rancho Las Palmas tennis facility with a somber look on her face. Although surrounded by lush landscapes underneath the warm Rancho Mirage sun, it's clear her mind is with her country and she's doing everything in her power to provide relief for Ukraine.
Svitolina, alongside her husband and ATP veteran Gael Monfils, took the court at the upscale venue for the "Tennis with the Stars" event that saw all profits go towards aiding Ukrainian refugees. The two were joined by the legendary Bryan brothers, Frances Tiafoe, Nick Monroe and Jessica Pegula, who all jumped into action in front of a lively crowd.
Over the last couple of years, Svitolina has given back to her country in various ways, which includes her foundation that helps provide opportunities to Ukrainian children. This makes it even tougher for the world No. 18 to witness the devastating attacks to her home. Before rallying for her people, she opened up about the heartbreaking situation.
"I've been helping kids in Ukraine for over two years now and seeing what is happening, the situation in Ukraine with the war, it's really tough to see for me," Svitolina told Tennis Channel. "Seeing all the innocent people struggling, it's heartbreaking for me.
"I'm really happy we could organize this event to raise money and to help people who are in need."
Other than keeping the crowd entertained with their variety of doubles tricks, the Bryan Brothers held "Racquets for Refugees" at the intimate tennis event. The fundraising auction saw numerous autographed racquets up for grabs, a Chicago Bulls cap signed by Michael Jordan, and various posters featuring Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and much more.
Hundreds of tennis fans and players made their way to the event about 10 miles away from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to support Svitolina and Ukraine. It's a sight that Svitolina was extremely grateful to see and be a part of.
"I'm really thankful to all the people who stand for Ukraine and for people living in Ukraine going through hell," Svitolina said. "Really thankful for all the soldiers and volunteers who took the weapons in their hands and doing their best to defend our nation and Ukrainian land."
The Ukrainian not only helped raise donations and awareness for her nation, but she also got in quite the hitting session with locals and fellow tour players. Playing four on each side, Svitolina let out a few laughs and smiles and surely felt the overwhelming amount of love that poured in on Thursday.
She is set to kickstart her Indian Wells campaign on Friday.