Elina Svitolina staying positive during Rogers Cup run

One match away from a third Premier title of 2017, Elina Svitolina explained to the media that she is trying to stay focused on continuously improving as she marches towards the top of the women's game.

Elina Svitolina staying positive during Rogers Cup run
Elina Svitolina celebrates her win over Simona Halep in Toronto. Photo: Vaughn RIdley/Getty Images

World number five Elina Svitolina is on a tear in Toronto, having reached the final of the Rogers Cup, defeating three other members of the world’s top ten on her way. With her fifth title of 2017 on the line tomorrow, the young Ukrainian is not letting the success go to her head.

Moving in the right direction

After blowing out defending champion Simona Halep in the semifinals, Svitolina reflected on her 2017 campaign, saying, “2017 been amazing year for me. When I was training during the offseason, I was not really thinking about goals in general. I was just trying to improve. I try to work as hard as I could, and, you know, learn something every day. Starting with a new team, it gave me this push and gave me a new view on the game. So, you know, it's just small details. That's what made a big difference.

Speaking of the new team, she elaborated on how her new coaching team has affected her game:

Well, every coach has a different view on the game. And it was very interesting to hear the opinion on the team I'm working now. And, you know, I'm a person who really analyze a lot and was, yeah, very interesting to see. Because I was been working with Iain for two-and-a-half years. It's been really -- we did lots of big steps forwards. And, you know, at that time I just thought I need something fresh and, yeah, just changed couple of things. You know, it's going to be awesome or it's going to be bad. It's always like this. Because I had a very good year in 2016. Finished it very strong. It was a big risk, but I took it and I got rewarded. So for me it's very, very positive thing.”

Svitolina hits a backhand during her semifinal win. Photo; Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Svitolina hits a backhand during her semifinal win. Photo; Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Despite having beaten Venus Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Halep this week in Toronto, Svitolina is not getting ahead of herself, referring to this run as “just a step in the right direction. I was working for it before coming here. And I think I'm playing a good level and just I tried to work for big matches. And very happy that it could happen here. And, you know, during this year I also played lots of good matches, like, big ones. So, yeah, it's very positive.”

When asked what specifically has improved about her game, she said “I think I'm more consistent with my game. With the mental part is also a very stable. Yeah, it's just the small things. Small details. I cannot really pick one thing that changed. My mentality, I have changed a little bit my mentality on tennis, on my game. So I'm just -- don't know. Just a different person. You know, I'm 22 years old, so I'm always changing. And I see some things differently than, like, one year ago, two years ago. So, yeah, just something clicked together and it's working. And hopefully it will be working for couple years.”

Wozniacki looms

Svitolina will look to claim her third Premier-level title of 2017 on Sunday when she takes on Caroline Wozniacki, the same woman she beat for her first Premier title back in February in Dubai. Looking ahead to the rematch, Svitolina simplified, saying:

"It's going to be a final, another final this year. And I'm going to think about just as next opponent, my next match. Of course, she's having a good year as well. She's injury-free and playing really good. So it's going to be a good match. I know this. And I will try to recover quickly because it was very tough day today, not only physically but also mentally, you know, to stay focused all the time. And, you know, winning in straight sets was quite tough. So that's why I need some time to think, to analyze this day today, and then move into the final tomorrow, which is already very soon.

Svitolina follows through on a forehand in Toronto. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Svitolina follows through on a forehand in Toronto. Photo: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Speaking of that Dubai final, Svitolina actually believes that she was better back in February than she is now. The Ukrainian explained that “I'm not playing the best tennis because I've been playing great in Dubai. I've been playing great in Rome. So this tournament is -- there have been not so good moments which were not so happy with my game, but, you know, I found a way to go through this tough moments. But I would think that I was playing much better in Dubai, even Roland Garros was better. But it's a different situation. It's a final. So you never know what is going to happen.”

Looking beyond the showdown with Wozniacki, Svitolina was asked if a run like this makes her feel ready to win a Grand Slam. The youngster is keeping things in perspective, saying, “Of course Grand Slam is the main goal. These kind of tournaments, they're also very important because they give you this confidence and give you this push to play better and this confidence as well to play in a Grand Slam. But the Grand Slam is little bit different because you have different pressure. So you need to prepare a little bit different for those kind of tournaments.