On the eve of the Credit One Charleston Open, the tennis community came together to support Ukraine as more than a dozen Hologic WTA Tour players, and two dozen amateurs, came together to support Tennis Plays for Peace in a charity pro-am.
Elina Svitolina, returning to tennis this week for the first time in more than a year, emceed the event, and she was joined by fellow Ukrainian Ahelina Kalinina and other players including 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens and hometown favorite Shelby Rogers, a Charleston native.
“I’m really thankful to all the players and the tournament to make this happen,” Svitolina said. “It’s really important to continue helping Ukrainian people. This is really special that we can help in many different ways.”
It’s the second consecutive year that the tournament has hosted a charity fundraiser for Ukraine, and this year’s pro-am raised $100,000 for Tennis Plays for Peace.
“It’s so great to see everyone coming together to support my home of Ukraine,” Kalinina said. “Events like these are so important to keep Ukraine top of mind, and we appreciate the help of the community here. Thank you to the Credit One Charleston Open for organizing.”
Former World No.3 Svitolina is playing her first tournament as a mom this week in Charleston; a wildcard in the main draw, she’ll face Yulia Putintseva in the first round.
“Increasing awareness and raising funds for Ukraine is very important to us as a tournament and to our players,” tournament director Bob Moran said. “We are passionate about working with Elina, who has a deep and personal understanding of the needs in her home country right now.”