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19 Apr, 2020 17:55

Ukrainian ace Svitolina warns she could shun Chinese tournaments for TWO YEARS over Covid-19 fears

Ukrainian ace Svitolina warns she could shun Chinese tournaments for TWO YEARS over Covid-19 fears

Ukrainian world number five Elina Svitolina has suggested she is unwilling to play tournaments in China for the next two years as the sporting fallout continues from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The women's WTA and men's ATP tours are both currently suspended until at least July 13 as large parts of the world remain in the grip of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about a potential return to action, world number five Svitolina suggested that date would be shifted even further back as countries emerged from lockdown in different stages.    

"It's possible we could still play this year, but after September," the 25-year-old told the 'Big Tennis Ukraine' YouTube show. 

"Each country organizes their quarantine in different ways, so it could all be delayed for longer. Maybe [we'll play] in October."

Svitolina is currently in lockdown in Switzerland with boyfriend and fellow tennis star Gael Monfils, and suggested that while she could return to the court this season, she would not been keen on playing again in China for the next two years due to health concerns.

"China has already more or less recovered, maybe they'll invite us to play there... but I don't know if I want to fly there in the next two years," Svitolina said.

China was the source of the Covid-19 outbreak which has led to more than 2 million cases worldwide and caused upwards of 160,000 deaths.  

Last year's season ending WTA Finals were held in Shenzhen, where Australia's Ashleigh Barty defeated defending champion Svitolina of Ukraine to win the title and claim a record-breaking $4.42 million in prize money.

This year however, three-time Grand Slam semifinalist Svitolina said she doubted that the season-ending finale would take place at all, let alone in China.

Also on rt.com Get the Barty party started! Aussie Ashleigh Barty nets record $4.42mn prize money as she beats Elina Svitolina to win WTA Finals

As with all other major sports, the damage to the tennis calendar wrought by the pandemic has been significant.

The French Open has been pushed back to September, while Wimbledon has been canceled altogether.

The status of the US Open, planned for the end of August, is currently in the balance.   

Stuck in lockdown, Svitolina has been entertaining her Instagram followers with workout tips and dance moves.