Some players dream of playing at Wimbledon at least once in their career. For others, the possibility that they could one day win the title pushes them to incredible lengths. For some, simply winning a match at Wimbledon is worth much more than that.
For Anhelina Kalinina, who won 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 over Anna Bondar on Monday, the £78,000 guaranteed for her to reach the second round will be used to help her family rebuild their home in Ukraine, which, a she revealed, was shelled by Russian forces.
“It’s hard to concentrate, but for me it’s important if I win or lose,” she said, after setting up a second-round match with fellow Ukrainian player Lesia Tsurenko. “I don’t just help my family, I help other families and other people. It’s a privilege to play here. It is a privilege to play all the tournaments. [If] you go further, you earn more money. So I am able to help, and I help as much as I can and not just my family. So for me, it’s important.
It was Tsurenko, 6-2, 6-3 winner against British joker Jodie Burrage, who first broke the news of the Kalinina family home. Kalinina, the No. 29 seed, said the family is now living in their own apartment in Ukraine while their home is being restored.
“First, their house was attacked. There are huge holes in the house, like huge holes,” she said. “There are no more apartments. So now this house is being rebuilt, so they can’t live there. So they live in my apartment where I live with my husband.
“It’s a very small apartment for my family, because, like, my mom, my dad, my brother, and they have pets. Currently they’re rebuilding the house. Now they’re home safe “They have everything. Yes, I’m grateful that they have opportunities to live, and I play tennis. So that’s good.
Ons Jabeur, the third seed, was relieved to avoid the same fate she suffered at Roland Garros, where she was beaten last month in the first round. This time, her 6-1, 6-3 victory over Sweden’s Mirjam Bjorklund gave her a chance to look ahead, with the goal of creating even more history for Arab and African tennis.
A quarter-finalist last year, the 27-year-old arrived at Wimbledon as the new world No. 2 – the highest ranking of any African player in history – which brought her own pressure, although this times she seems to enjoy it.
“Tennis is a tricky sport,” said Jabeur, who will face Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa in the second round. “You can lose every week, which is not fun. But the thing is, like I said before at the start of the season, I was like No. 10 and nine, I said, I belong in this ranking and I don’t think I deserve the place of maybe being five or four. Now I feel like I deserve it even more. I even feel like I have won and won some games to prove myself at this level. I feel more confident. I feel like I deserve to be at this level. Hopefully the next step will be No.1.
Anett Kontaveit, the second seed and the woman Jabeur replaced as world No. 2, endured a tough first set with Bernarda Pera before retiring for a 7-5, 6-0 victory.