Elina Svitolina to return only five months after giving birth as comeback event is confirmed

Shahida Jacobs
Elina Svitolina blowing kisses

Elina Svitolina will return form maternity leave at the Charleston Open, just over five months after giving birth to her first child.

Former world No 3 Svitolina last played competitive tennis at the Miami Open in April 2022 as after the tournament she announced she was taking a break tennis following Russia’s invasion of her home country Ukraine earlier in the year.

Not long after she revealed that she and husband Gael Monfils are expecting a baby and they welcomed a baby girl named Skai into the world in October.

Svitolina has always been adamant that she would eventually return to competitive tennis following the birth of her daughter and it has now official as she has accepted wildcard entry for the WTA 500 event, which runs from April 1 to 9 in South Carolina.

Besides Svitolina, reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka as well as world No 3 Jessica Pegula, No 4 Ons Jabeur, No 8 Daria Kasatkina, and No 9 and defending champion Belinda Bencic have also signed up for the clay-court tournament.

READ MORE: Elina Svitolina and Gael Monfils welcome first child: ‘Welcome to the world my little princess’

The 28-year-old Svitolina has been at the forefront of charity events to support Ukrainians and she will be part of the Charleston Open and WTA Charities’ special Tennis Plays for Peace Pro-Am in April with funds raised going to Ukraine and the Elina Svitolina Foundation.

“Increasing awareness and raising funds for Ukraine is very important to us as a tournament and to our players,” Bob Moran, Tournament Director of the Credit One Charleston Open and President of Charleston Tennis LLC, said.

“We are passionate about working with Elina, who has a deep and personal understanding of the needs in her home country right now, to further exemplify the mission of Tennis Plays for Peace and stand united with Ukraine.”

Last year the Pro-Am raised $100,000 in donations for relief efforts in Ukraine.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Svitolina admitted that the invasion of her country remains a “very sad day” while she also lamented reports that Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete at next year’s Paris Olympics.

“This is something that you would never wish your enemy to face,” she said. “It’s a very sad day.”

The Ukraininan added: “It’s going to be very sad, and the wrong message would be sent to the world if Olympics going to stay with the decision to put them [Russia and Belarus] under a neutral flag.

“I don’t think this is the right decision.”