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Ukrainian tennis ace Svitolina’s husband discusses ‘tough’ time for family

Gael Monfils spoke after beating Russian top seed Daniil Medvedev at a tennis tournament in the USUkrainian tennis ace Svitolina’s husband discusses ‘tough’ time for family

Ukrainian tennis ace Svitolina’s husband discusses ‘tough’ time for family

Elina (left) and Gael Monfils © Noam Galai / Getty Images for AYS Sports Marketing

Tennis ace Gael Monfils has said that his Ukrainian wife, world number 18 Elina Svitolina, and her family have faced a tough ordeal during the attack on Ukraine that made the Olympic Games bronze medalist cry.

Svitolina and Monfils have been competing at the Indian Wells Masters tournament in California, where the 26th seed caused a considerable upset with a comeback win over Daniil Medvedev on Monday to ensure the Russian contender’s brief dethronement of Novak Djokovic as world number one will end on Monday.

After one of the finest results of his career, the Australian Open quarterfinalist was inevitably asked about Svitolina, who he married in July.

“It’s not easy to see my second family, let’s say, battling,” the 35-year-old confided. “It’s not easy to see my wife a couple weeks ago crying every night.

“It was tough. Of course, I’m being there for her every day, for her, for the family.

“It’s tough to describe because I’m in it. It’s just kind of crazy, when you think about it.”

With the conflict in Ukraine about to enter a third week, Monfils described how he is supporting Svitolina.

“I try to be the shoulder, to be everything that she can lean on,” pledged the 35-year-old.

“Definitely to my second family, I do anything for them to make them happy, safe – everything that I can do.”

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Svitolina initially refused to play her opening match against Russian Anastasia Potapova at the Monterrey Open in Mexico on March 2.

The former world number three agreed to play after tennis authorities barred Russian and Belarusian players from competing under the name and flag of their countries, thrashing Potapova 6-2 6-1 as part of an emotional display.

She suffered a shock second-round exit against British qualifier Harriet Dart in California, where Medvedev was playing as world number one for the first time after ending Djokovic’s long run at the top of the rankings.

Medvedev, who has called for peace and spoken of his gratitude to be playing, won the first set 6-4, only for his performance to sharply deteriorate as he lost the second set 6-3 and the decider 6-1.

“It was not my best match but Gael also played well and that’s how it is sometimes,” he acknowledged.

“When you lose, it’s rare that you’re going to say ‘I played unbelievably.’ It was enough for him to win today and the second and third sets were not that close, to be honest. I couldn’t find my rhythm and I completely lost it in the third set.”

Monfils faces Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, the number 18 seed, in the fourth round on Wednesday.


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