1/12/2019 10:40:54 AM

Svitolina has Grand designs on reaching the top

Svitolina has Grand designs on reaching the top

Melbourne: Elina Svitolina is determined to break through and win her first Grand Slam this year with the world number one ranking also in the sights of the confident Ukrainian.

The 24-year-old scored the biggest win of her career at the WTA Finals in Singapore last October to end the year at a career-high four.

It marked a steady climb through the rankings since she debuted in 2010 at 498 with her aggressive style pushing her ever closer to being on top of the world.

But Grand Slam success has so far been elusive, with just three quarter-final appearances to show in the 25 majors she has played.

Svitolina is hoping that will change as she gears up for the opening Slam of the year in Melbourne starting Monday.

"I played great in the end of the season. But of course the main goal for me is to be number one and win a Grand Slam," she said Saturday. 

"But I try to not think so much about it and not have this pressure because, you know, everyone is fighting for the same thing. There is enough pressure that's put on us."

She admitted, though, that "it motivates me".

"For this year, I try to be more aggressive, try to build more from the baseline," she added. 

"Just in general, you know, I try to improve everything. Each year it's about learning experience, learning from your past tough experiences."

Svitolina, seeded six, opens her Australian Open campaign against Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubio, who she practised with last week.

She is in the same side of the draw as US Open winner Naomi Osaka, and could meet her in the quarter-finals of a tournament she rates as perhaps her favourite on tour.

"I like to come back to Melbourne. Playing here, it's very relaxed," she said.

"I would say of all the Slams, because I think the city and the atmosphere, the fans make this event more special."

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