A “Russian” champion at Wimbledon

A “Russian” champion at Wimbledon


Last April, Wimbledon officials decided to exclude Russian players from their tournament. On Saturday, ironically, it was a player of Russian origin who won the women's Grand Slam title.  

Elena Rybakina, who was born and raised in Moscow but has played for Kazakhstan since 2018, prevailed 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 against world No. 2 Ons Jabeur. 

At the same time, she became the first player from Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam title. At 23, she is the youngest Wimbledon champion since Petra Kvitova in 2011. She gets her hands on a check for C$3.1 million. 

Rybakina delivered a great performance to get the win. In the first set, she was broken in her second service game. From then on, Jabeur picked up pace and she followed her game plan to the letter. The Tunisian was in control of the match thanks to a nice variety in her attacks. 

However, the tide turned from the first moments of the second set. Rybakina took matters into her own hands with a break from the start. She gained confidence in her abilities and she began to chain the good shots. 

The inconstancy of Jabeur

For her part, Jabeur was unable to seize opportunities to curb the momentum of her young rival. She was unable to convert four break points in that inning. As we have seen on several occasions since the start of the tournament, Jabeur has been inconstant. 

If she was able to get out of trouble in her previous matches, it was not the case against Rybakina. She entered the door that opened to her.

The Kazakh smashed Jabeur outright in the third set. A hard blow. The final point in this meeting came at 3-2 in favor of Rybakina. Jabeur had the chance to bring the two players back to square one with three break points. Again, she failed. 

The rest of the meeting was a formality for Rybakina. 

“She deserves this title, underlined Ons Jabeur on the ground. I'm sad about the turn of events, but that's part of tennis. There can only be one winner.”

A nationality that leaves doubts

To return to his links with Russia, Rybakina was asked several questions during his journey to great honours. 

“I have been representing Kazakhstan for several years and I am very happy,” she said. They believe in me. I have no doubts in my mind. I have represented this country in the Olympics and the Fed Cup. 

“I am a tennis player and I am happy to be here. I try to do my best. It's a shame for the players (Russian and Belarusian) who couldn't participate in the tournament.”

She tried to put the cover on the pot several times.

“I was born in Russia and I represent Kazakhstan. I don't know why I have to come back to this. I have already answered several questions on this subject. 

“During my matches, the president of the Kazakh federation came to encourage me. It's big. It’s incredible support.”