Svitolina: ‘It’s about taking chances’

  • Alex Sharp

“You have to be ready for everything.”

Elina Svitolina is ready to roll at Australian Open 2019 and is intent on being more ruthless on court in order to advance further in the field.

“For this year, I try to be more aggressive, try to build more from the baseline. Each year it's a learning experience, learning from your past tough experiences,” said the Ukrainian.

“I had some tough matches last year in a Grand Slams, which I had to win, but I didn't go through. I didn't execute well. That's why it's about making chances and then taking them.”

The 24-year-old curtailed her 2018 campaign with an astonishing unbeaten run at the WTA Finals in Singapore, but Svitolina is adamant she must be forward thinking this season.

“Last year I was coming here after winning in Brisbane. This year, just two months ago I had my biggest title, it is different. Each year, each Grand Slam is very, very different. You don't think so much about the past. It's gone. You're just moving forward. That's for me the priority,” insisted the world No.6 who is relentlessly pursuing additions to her on-court artillery. 

“I always try to keep positive. Of course, I want to play better the Grand Slams, but I try to do something different. I try to add something to my game or to my preparation that will help me. But each Grand Slam has a different deal.”

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Svitolina is content to look at the bigger picture. Having yet to play beyond a Grand Slam quarterfinal, she is still only 24 years old.

“I played great in the end of the season. The main goal for me is to be No.1 and win a Grand Slam. But I don't think so much about it, don't have this pressure because everyone is fighting for the same thing. There is enough pressure that's put on us,” explained the Ukrainian.

“Yeah, it motivates me, of course, but I don't think so much about it. For me, it's just about playing good tennis, being 100 per cent ready for each match.”

The sixth seed in Melbourne surrendered her Brisbane title earlier this month in her opening match up in a 6-4 0-6 6-3 defeat by Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Despite just one competitive match in the lead up to Australian Open 2019, Svitolina maintains her positive persona.

“It's been one week and a half that I've been here. Had good practice and I feel ready,” she said. “There will be lots of tough matches, so that's why I have to just stay positive and be ready for what the tournament holds for me.”

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Elise Mertens sent Svitolina home at the quarterfinal stage at Melbourne Park last January and the duo could meet once again in the fourth round, ahead of a possible last eight battle with US Open champion Naomi Osaka.

Svitolina first has to find a passage past Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic, but Svitolina has already done her homework on her opening opponent.

Svitolina, the world No. 6, could face a last eight battle against Japan's Naomi Osaka

“I practiced with her actually when I got here Monday. I know little bit her game style. It's a bit different because she makes lots of slice, she plays one-handed,” assessed Svitolina.

“There will always be a game plan that I will have to execute. Yeah, just take one point at a time and see how it goes.”