Elina Svitolina played inspired tennis to reach a third Wimbledon quarterfinal on Monday, sharing she was indeed playing for a higher purpose in her on-court interview.

“It was a good performance on my side today. It’s a very difficult day today for Ukrainian people…” she said through tears as the No. 2 Court crowd showed their support with rapturous applause.

A former world No. 3, the No. 21-seeded Svitolina had just defeated Wang Xinyu, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the last eight at the All England Club for a second straight year, having reached the semifinals in 2023 with a stunning win over world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. She donned a black ribbon in memory of the latest Russian attack on Ukraine.


Since returning to action following a maternity leave that saw her and husband Gaël Monfils welcome daughter Skaï, Svitolina has been an outspoken advocate for the Ukrainian people, who have been subjected to a Russian and Belarusian invasion of their country for over two years.

“Today was one of the most difficult matches in my life, mentally it was beyond anything I have ever faced but fails in comparison to what my people at home are going through,” she said later on social media.

“Wimbledon has become black for me today. All my love and thoughts are with Ukraine and our Ukrainian people 💔 Thank you all for your support.”

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that a Russian missile struck a children’s hospital in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, killing “at least 31 people and injuring 154.

“At the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv, rescuers searched for victims under the rubble of a partially collapsed, two-story wing of the facility. Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least 16 people, seven of them children, were injured,” wrote. Hanna Arhirova and Illia Novikov.”


Svitolina, 29, showed remarkable poise in the wake of the tragedy, defeating Wang in under an hour as Monfils looked on.

“It was not easy to focus today on the match,” she continued on court. “Since the morning, it’s very difficult to read the news and go on the court. It was actually really tough, so I’m happy I could play today and get a win.”

Svitolina will next face No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina in a rematch of their Roland Garros encounter last month.