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'Wimbledon is black for me', says grieving Svitolina

Elina Svitolina broke down in tears on court after reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals on the same day a Russian missile struck a children's hospital in Kyiv.

The Ukrainian wore a black ribbon on her top during her 6-2 6-1 victory over Wang Xinyu and any feelings of satisfaction were dwarfed by sadness at the ongoing horrors in her home country.

Svitolina had to pause during her on-court interview as the emotions overwhelmed her, with at least 31 people killed in attacks across Ukraine.

Writing on Instagram, Svitolina described it as one of the most difficult matches of her life, saying: "Wimbledon has become black for me today".

"It's an incredibly sad day today for all Ukrainians," added the 29-year-old in her press conference. "It was really difficult for me to really be here in a way and do anything. I just wanted to be in my room, just be there with my emotions, with everything.

"oday was one of the days where it was even more difficult because the missile landed on  the kids' hospital. Straightaway you see the images and everything that happened there. So many kids lost their lives. It's an extremely tough day today."

Svitolina admitted she feels guilty when she celebrates achievements on the court or experiences happiness in her life, and her motivation against Wang was to provide some good news for Ukrainians.

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina shows her emotions after defeating Xinyu Wang in straight sets at Wimbledon. (AP PHOTO)

"I think for many Ukrainians they will share this feeling with me," she said. "We feel guilt that we feel happy or that we feel good. Not only because I'm in the quarter-final of the grand slam, but in everything.

"Like, you go to holidays, you feel guilty because you're not in Ukraine. Many people cannot leave the country. Many people are at the war. Many people are fighting, defending our front lines. I think we've been living with this feeling for over two years.

"Of course, this is one of the things that motivated me today, was just I have to put my head down and show up and do my best, my very best. Every Ukrainian is using their own way to raise awareness, to raise money, to help in every possible way they can.

"My way is through tennis. I tried to be focused on my job, tried to be focused on what I can control. I'm playing, of course, such an amazing event as Wimbledon. I have to also think about how I can use that in a way for Ukrainian people."

Svitolina went on an emotional run to the semi-finals here last year and is looking for a repeat but, if she is to achieve that, she must beat fourth seed and title favourite Elena Rybakina, who had an easy passage through to the last eight after Anna Kalinskaya retired with a wrist injury trailing 6-3 3-0.

Former French Open winner and Czech 31st seed Barbora Krejcikova beat American 11th seed Danielle Collins 7-5 6-3, setting up a quarter-final clash with 13th seed Jelena Ostapenko.

Former French Open champion and Latvian 13th seed brushed aside Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 6-2 6-3 to reach the last eight for the third time.