Svitolina looks to the future



(Originally published on 28/02/18 00:00)

Elina Svitolina’s British connections remain strong but the world No 4 and her boyfriend of the last 18 months, the England cricketer Reece Topley, have gone their separate ways. The couple had been together since the summer of 2016.

Svitolina’s links with Britain date back to her appointment of Iain Hughes as her coach in 2014. Although she is now coached by Thierry Ascione, the Frenchman is assisted by Andrew Bettles, who was a promising British junior. Bettles is Svitolina’s hitting partner and helps with her coaching in the absence of Ascione. Svitolina’s fitness trainer, Oliver Fawls, is also British.

After an excellent year in 2017, the 23-year-old Ukrainian has made a strong start to her 2018 campaign. She won the Brisbane International in the first week of the season and suffered her first defeat of the year – after nine successive victories – in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, when a hip problem meant she was not at her best against Elise Mertens.

Svitolina claimed her second title of the year with victory last week in Dubai, where she beat Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals before dropping only four games against Daria Kasatkina to take the title.

Topley revealed this week that his career would be taking a new direction when he signed a contract only to play limited-overs cricket with Hampshire. The fast bowler, who was troubled by hand and back injuries last year, will be hoping to reclaim a place in the England team, having played in 10 one-day internationals and six Twenty20 matches for his country.

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