- Elina Svitolina, one of the best tennis players in the world, said a hotel room police raid earlier in the season was like being in a movie.
- Svitolina was getting ready for her Indian Wells quarterfinal match on March 14 when she heard commotion in a hallway. Within moments, armed police officers had stormed into her room, pointed guns at her, and were asking questions.
- There had been a report of gunfire in the building.
- The incident left Svitolina shocked for two hours, but she was able to put it behind her and win her match that day.
- Svitolina is currently in London and dominated her first round Wimbledon opponent on Monday, beating Daria Gavrilova in straight sets 7-5, 6-0.
- One thing she is not expecting is more gunfire. “I think it’s a safe place,” she told Business Insider.
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Elina Svitolina said a hotel-room police raid earlier in the season was like a scene from a Hollywood movie.
The 24-year-old enjoyed a wildly successful year in 2018 – winning four titles on two different surfaces including the acclaimed WTA Finals in Singapore, and finishing the year as the fourth best player on the planet.
In her fifth tournament of 2019, Svitolina was cruising through the early stages of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, beating Sofia Kenin, Daria Gavrilova, and current world no.1 Ashleigh Barty.
But her preparations for quarterfinal opponent Marketa Vondrousova took a hit when she heard commotion outside her hotel room. Within moments, armed police officers had stormed into her room, pointed guns at her, and were asking questions.
Svitolina tweeted about the ordeal on March 14.
— Elina Monfils (@ElinaSvitolina) March 15, 2019
Svitolina told Business Insider the full story at the Dubai Duty Free WTA Summer Party in London on Friday, ahead of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships in England.
“We heard some noise in the corridor then out of nowhere, like five seconds later, they banged into our room,” Svitolina said. “We were a little bit shocked because the police were in the hotel … [then] searching the room.”
Svitolina said there were four or five armed police officers in uniform. “It felt like I was in a movie at first,” she laughed. “Luckily, we weren’t sleeping because otherwise it would have been a big shock. Even more with the guns and everything.”
The officers then asked questions like “Where were you born?” and “What age are you?”
Once they were satisfied, they left. “I think someone had reported a gunshot so that’s why they were searching the rooms which were in that part of the hotel,” Svitolina said.
It all happened around 11 o clock and left Svitolina in “shock for two hours.” She said: “They were pointing guns … it’s not every day that happens to you.”
The incident was reported by the local press at the time.The Palm Springs Desert Sun said Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies searched the Hyatt Regency hotel, a $US500 per night hotel located two miles from the 29-court tennis facility that hosts the Indian Wells competition, but were unable to find evidence of gunfire.
Svitolina even had a match to play later that day but was able to put the incident behind her. She bounced back from one set down to beat Marketa Vondrousova, setting up a semifinal against eventual champion Bianca Andreescu.
Svitolina’s form has ebbed since Indian Wells.
Svitolina’s world ranking has since dropped to eight. For three successive tournaments she was knocked out at the very first round, managed to win two French Open matches, but was then eliminated in back-to-back first round matches at the Birmingham Classic and Eastbourne International last month.
“It’s not been easy,” Svitolina said of her Wimbledon preparations.
However, she said she was doing “everything” possible “to be ready.” She said: “I feel good. I take one day at a time, I don’t think so far ahead to the rest of the season or next week. I just take one day at a time and do everything that’s in my power to recover, to prepare, and be ready for the tournament.”
Svitolina’s preparations have, so far, proven solid as she dominated Daria Gavrilova in straight sets 7-5, 6-0 on Monday, setting up a second round match against Margarita Gasparyan on Wednesday.
One thing she is not expecting at Wimbledon is more gunfire. “I think it’s a safe place,” she said.