Elina Svitolina, born on 12 September 1994, is a Ukrainian professional tennis player.
Throughout her impressive career, she’s reached the world No. 3 spot in singles and 108 in doubles.
Svitolina boasts an impressive 17 WTA Tour singles titles, has been a runner-up three times, and became the first Ukrainian woman to break into the top 10 rankings.
A few of her notable titles include the 2018 WTA Finals and three of five Premier 5-level tournaments: the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Italian Open, and the Canadian Open.
Svitolina’s top performances at the majors happened in 2019, where she made it to the semifinals at the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open.
In 2021, Svitolina clinched the Olympic bronze medal in the women’s singles tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics, marking the first time an Olympian has won a tennis medal for Ukraine.
Svitolina’s roots are firmly grounded in Ukraine, having been born in Odesa to parents Mikhaylo Svitolin, a former wrestler, and Olena Svitolina, a former competitive rower.
Her name pays tribute to the famous Ukrainian actress Elina Bystritska, and she grew up alongside her older brother, Yulian.
Intriguingly, it was her brother’s attention-grabbing tennis skills that spurred a young Elina to take up the sport herself, in an attempt to regain some of her father’s focus. She was only five when she started playing.
When Svitolina was 13, her family moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine, under the sponsorship of businessman Yuriy Sapronov.
Sapronov had been captivated by her talent when he saw her play at one of his children’s tournaments, leading him to invest in her training and professional development.
Svitolina maintains her official residence in Kharkiv, but her training schedule overseas limits her time in her hometown and Odesa. She also has a residence in London.
Svitolina has been recognized for her dedication to her Ukrainian heritage. She has confirmed that she declined several offers to change her citizenship for significant financial rewards during her early career.
Additionally, during the COVID-19 quarantine at the 2021 Australian Open, she devoted herself to learning the Ukrainian language. With a robust career and a dedication to her home country, Svitolina is not just a top tennis player but also a national role model.
This article will shed light on the individual who plays a crucial role in her success – her coach.
Who Is Elina Svitolina’s Coach in 2023?
Elina Svitolina, a top-ranking Ukrainian tennis player, has joined forces with Dutch coach Ramon Sluiter, a partnership that the player finds both rewarding and inspiring.
“Our cooperation is going well,” says Svitolina. “I really like Raymond as a coach.
He both corrects and gives me the will to play the way I see, the way I want.
There’s a lot going on in my head right now when I play. But over time, it will come together as a whole.”Their focus during training is to make Svitolina feel comfortable, allowing her to play in matches just as she would in practice.
Sluiter’s experience as a player, especially his comeback to the Tour after a period of personal challenges, resonates with Svitolina. “He understands and knows how I feel now,” she shares.
Instead of rushing to win big tournaments, their emphasis is on training and maintaining an even emotional level during matches.
Sluiter, her new mentor, understands the trials ahead after Svitolina’s year-long hiatus.
However, he is confident that she is ready to reclaim her career at the top. “Of course, it will be physically and psychologically hard,” Sluiter admits. But he adds, “She’s very focused and wants to get back to competing successfully.“
Sluiter, born on 13 April 1978, is a former professional tennis player from the Netherlands and currently a tennis coach.
He achieved a career-high ATP singles ranking of World No. 46 in February 2003. Despite limited success in his professional career, Sluiter reached four ATP finals in the Netherlands and semi-finals of the Davis Cup with the Dutch team in 2001.
In 2008, Sluiter announced his retirement, only to return to professional tennis in 2009. He set a record in June 2009 by becoming the lowest-ranked professional player (866th) in history to reach an ATP final.
Sluiter transitioned into coaching after his retirement. He first coached Dutch player Kiki Bertens in 2015, under whom Bertens reached the semi-final of the French Open in 2016.
In 2021, he briefly worked with Dutch ATP player Tallon Griekspoor, before starting his journey with Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina in March 2023 after her return from maternity leave.
Former Mertens coaches
Elina Svitolina worked with coach Andis Juska for a period in 2022. Their professional collaboration came to an end when Svitolina announced that she and her partner, Gael Monfils, were expecting a child.
Andis Juska, born on 22 May 1985, is a former professional tennis player from Latvia and is currently a respected coach in the world of tennis. During his playing career, Juska achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No. 226 in October 2009. For several years, he was known as the second-best ATP-ranked Latvian tennis player.
Juska’s expertise doesn’t just stop with his tennis playing career; he has since transitioned into a fruitful coaching career.
He currently coaches American player Amanda Anisimova and has previously worked with Latvian player Jeļena Ostapenko.
His work with Svitolina in 2022 showcased his coaching skills on a global stage.
Adding to his coaching repertoire, Juska was the captain of the Latvian team for the Billie Jean King Cup in 2008, further emphasizing his influential role in the tennis community.
On October 25, 2021, Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina announced that she and her coach Andrew Bettles were parting ways. This marked the end of a five-year partnership that resulted in several WTA titles and an Olympic bronze medal for Svitolina.
Andrew Bettles was originally hired as Svitolina’s hitting partner, but his role gradually evolved into a coaching position.
He began officially working as Svitolina’s coach in 2018. Before this collaboration, Bettles had experience working with another well-known tennis player, Ana Ivanovic.
During the announcement, Svitolina expressed her gratitude towards Bettles, saying, “I am very thankful for all his hard work and endless support. I wish him only the best in his future career!”
Despite experiencing significant personal milestones in 2021, including her engagement and wedding to Gaël Monfils, Svitolina had a challenging year on the court.
She displayed inconsistent form compared to the one that took her to consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals in 2019. A notable setback was her defeat at the US Open to finalist Leylah Fernandez.
Despite these hurdles, Svitolina had a slim chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals – a competition she had won in 2018 and was a runner-up to Ashleigh Barty the following year.
Gabriel Urpi And Thierry Ascione
In late 2016, Elina Svitolina decided to reshuffle her coaching team.
She brought on Gabriel Urpí as her new coach, with Frenchman Thierry Ascione stepping in as her coaching consultant.
Ascione replaced Justine Henin in this role and worked with Svitolina until the 2018 US Open.
Thierry Ascione, born on January 17, 1981, is a retired professional tennis player from France.
He turned professional in 2000 and retired a decade later, in September 2010, reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 81 in February 2004.
Notably, he had a memorable match against Roger Federer in the second round of Roland Garros 2007 where he saved five match points in the third set.
Post his playing career, Ascione turned to coaching and has worked with top players like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Lucas Pouille, Ugo Humbert, and of course, Elina Svitolina.
After spending nearly two years together and achieving significant success – including eight titles and a career-high ranking of No. 3 for Svitolina – the player-coach relationship came to an end.
In a statement, Svitolina thanked Ascione for his dedication, saying, “20 months of teamwork, 8 titles, and No. 3 of the WTA ranking – thank you Thierry for the great work and excellent atmosphere! It’s time to move further, and I wish Thierry luck and success.”
Gabriel Urpí, a former professional tennis player from Spain, was another crucial part of Svitolina’s coaching team during this period.
Born on August 16, 1961, Urpí was a semi-finalist in the boys’ singles event at the French Open and an Orange Bowl champion in 1978.
He competed in the main draw of the French Open multiple times in the 1980s and had a few memorable runs at ATP tournaments, notably reaching the semi-finals at the 1987 Bordeaux Open.
His successful playing career transitioned smoothly into coaching, and he has worked with notable players like Flavia Pennetta, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Conchita Martínez, Nicolas Mahut, and Caroline Garcia.
Urpí’s collaboration with Svitolina ended in May 2017, with the Ukrainian deciding to concentrate her coaching efforts on Ascione and hitting partner Andrew Bettles. Despite the changes, the impact of both Ascione and Urpí on Svitolina’s career remains significant.
Elina Svitolina’s achievements with different coaches
We have collected in the table the data about the trophies won by Elina Svitolina under the guidance of various coaches.
|Coaches||Years of Collaboration||Titles|
|Raemon Sluiter||March 2023 – ongoing||2023 Internationaux de Strasbourg|
|Andis Juska||2022 – 2022||–|
|Andrew Bettles||September 2018 – 2021||2021 – Chicago 250;
2020 – Monterrey, Strasbourg;
2018 – WTA Finals
|Thierry Ascione||2017-September 2018||2017 – Taipei City, Dubai, Istanbul, Rome, Toronto
2018 – Brisbane, Dubai, Rome
|Gabriel Urpí & Thierry Ascione||2016-2017||2016 – Kuala Lumpur|