Elina Svitolina and Zhang Shuai shared a warm embrace seen around the world following their epic third round encounter at the Australian Open.
WTA Staff
January 19, 2019

The two toiled for nearly three hours in the warm Australian sun, and Elina Svitolina eventually rallied from a double-break deficit in the final set in a mammoth victory against Zhang Shuai at the Australian Open on Friday.

But it's a post-match moment that got a lot of people talking: after the two shared a long hug at the net, the No.6 seed made her way over to her beaten foe for a chat that drew warm applause from Rod Laver Arena. 

Read more: Svitolina battles from brink to reach Aussie second week

"It was great fight today, I think for both of us. I think we left everything on court. Last night when I checked the weather, it was 20 degrees [Celsius], max, so I didn't really expect it was going to be that hot," Svitolina said after the match.

"It was very hot, but I always think that, [in] this situation...I think, 'Okay, there is an opponent across the net, and also struggling also in the same situation, also run the same amount of hours on the court.' 

"I try to think that way and I'm not alone here."


Both players received medical treatment in the match, with Svitolina receiving attention on her shoulder over the course of the first two hours of the match, which Zhang also received a medical timeout in the third set. 

The Ukrainian continued: "I think a tennis match is a tennis match. You finish the match, and of course everyone wants to win as bad as the other person, but it's done. She's a very nice person. I played with her in TieBreakTens and we had a good time. We practice sometimes.

"It's not only about tennis here. I think it's very important to be a person and to be open. That's what I am. It's not like a big deal for me, but, you know, when someone is hurting, it's normal to help."

Svitolina will next face either Elise Mertens or Madison Keys in the fourth round.