This content was published 5 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina admitted that she feels pressure to defend her title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia but is using it as motivation as she looks to return to form following struggles with a knee injury.
“Well, probably if I would say there is no pressure, I would probably lie. Of course, there is some kind of pressure when you come to the tournament where you have to defend a title. I try to don’t think so much about it. I try to don’t look at it that way. I try to take it as a motivation for the matches here,” said the Ukrainian.
The world No. 6 has been battling with a knee injury since Dubai and took over a month away from the Tour after Miami to concentrate on her recovery. She returned to action in Madrid last week where she fell in straight sets to Pauline Parmentier in the first round.
Svitolina, who defeated Simona Halep in the final at the Italian Open in both 2017 and 2018, credits the fans and the atmosphere they create for helping her to achieve such success here.
“I really enjoy the atmosphere. Any time of the day, any time of the week when you play here, the atmosphere is amazing. The fans are making it very special. I would say it’s the loudest and the most exciting when you play in front of Italian fans.
“It brings the best of me. Each time I step on court here, I really enjoy the fight. Even though I had some really tough matches, but I went through them. That’s what’s special about it.”
The No. 5 seed will receive a bye in the first round and will then face either Victoria Azarenka, the 2013 runner-up, or Zhang Shuai in the second.
“Every match is very important for me. I will try to prepare as much as I can. Almost every match is like a final for me. I try to be ready 100%. Every player is tough, so you have to be prepared and ready for the fight.”