WTA

Svitolina return after motherhood break 'extraordinary' for Bartoli

By Sports Desk July 23, 2023

Elina Svitolina's return to the WTA Tour has been nothing short of "extraordinary" following her break to become a mother, believes Marion Bartoli.

The former world number three took a break from tennis last year in order to have her first child, who was born in October.

Since making her return this year however, she has shown no signs of rust, winning the Strasbourg Open before a quarter-final finish at the French Open and a last-four appearance at Wimbledon.

With a rich vein of form behind her, Svitolina looks in contention for the season-ending WTA Finals later this year and Wimbledon champion Bartoli has been left impressed by her comeback.

"All I know is you [disturb] your sleeping pattern because your baby's waking up during the night [and] then of course you're a lot more tired during the day when you have to go through your training," she told Stats Perform.

"Obviously, your body's changing through pregnancy as well. To find her athleticism again and get yourself into shape, she has done it so quickly.

"She was so fit at Roland Garros [and] she was I thought even fitter at Wimbledon. For me, it's just really extraordinary to see her physically that fit and that match ready so soon.

"I would not be surprised to see her do extremely well in the US Open and actually qualify [for the WTA Finals]. I will not be surprised at all to see her ending up in the top eight at the end of this year."

Svitolina's form comes amid a wide-open tour where several of the world's best players are jockeying for success, while returns to the court for Naomi Osaka and Caroline Wozniacki have also caught headlines.

Bartoli believes it is an exciting time to follow the game, adding: "I think we are in for a great WTA Tour. We have the comeback [from] Naomi Osaka, we have the comeback of Caroline Wozniacki, which is really exciting.

"Victoria [Azarenka] [came back] super strong after pregnancy as well, and Ons Jabeur, she was so close to winning a grand slam. You have the feeling that it's not going to take too long before she wins her first.

"I think we have a lot of stories to tell. If those girls can stay on top, I think we're in for a good one."

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