The Rome Masters title hat-trick quest of Elina Svitolina is relaxed as the winner of the last two editions competes this week at the locked-down Foro Italico.

The Ukrainian is making her first competitive start since the mid-August end of the five-month tennis shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has zero regrets about skipping the US Open in the interests of health.

But with the rump WTA calendar missing all of the autumn Asian tournaments and also doing without the year-end Finals in Shenzhen, it’s just not the same for the 26-year-old.

“It definitely feels different, because we don’t have WTA Finals,” she said in Rome prior to her opening match. 

“At the end of September, normally you are hustling. I’m hustling all the time for the Finals… for the past three years, I was really under pressure of getting into the WTA Finals.

“I’m just trying to enjoy myself being on the court, being under pressure, trying to dig myself out of some different kind of situations.”

Svitolina said that she most misses the thrill of competing: “I’m playing for those emotions now more than anything else, which is kind of enjoyable. I’m enjoying this feeling after we missed for a couple of months.

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