New mother Svitolina to make comeback at Charleston Open in April

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 24, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Elina Svitolina (UKR) prepares to receive serve against Heather Watson (GBR) (not pictured) in a second round women's singles match in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

March 18 (Reuters) - Former world number three Elina Svitolina will make her return to the WTA Tour following her maternity break at next month's Charleston Open in South Carolina after accepting a wild card, organisers of the claycourt tournament said.

Ukraine's Svitolina, who last played a year ago in Miami, is set to return to action following the birth of her daughter Skai with husband and fellow tennis player Gael Monfils.

The 28-year-old has also partnered with the tournament and WTA Charities to host a special "Tennis Plays for Peace" pro-am event in April, benefiting war-torn Ukraine and the Elina Svitolina Foundation.

"Increasing awareness and raising funds for Ukraine is very important to us as a tournament and to our players," tournament director Bob Moran said in a statement.

"We are passionate about working with Elina, who has a deep and personal understanding of the needs in her home country right now, to further exemplify the mission of Tennis Plays for Peace and stand united with Ukraine."

The tournament hosted a pro-am in 2022 and raised $100,000 in donations for relief efforts in Ukraine.

Svitolina, who has 16 WTA titles and is a two-times Grand Slam semi-finalist, will be joined in the Charleston field by five former champions including holder Belinda Bencic.

Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has also signed up to play.

The Charleston Open will take place from April 1-9.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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