Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon win caused some political discussions
By: Emily Chu
Elena Rybakina’s win in the Saturday finals surprised many fans. The 23-year-old Russian-born tennis player has beaten many prodigies, like the Chinese teenager Zheng Qiwen, former winners Bianca Andreesu and Simona Halep, and even Ons Jabeur, the No. 2 player in the world.
Current events created an awkward situation for Rybakina. The invasion of Ukraine certainly changed Wimbledon, as the tournament banned all Russian and Belarusian players from competing this year. This was to ensure Russia doesn’t use success in sports as propaganda.
As a Russian-born player, Elena Rybakina faced many challenges. Even though she began representing the country of Kazakhstan in 2018, many questioned if Russia would try to use her win as propaganda.
“I don’t know,” told the New York Times. “I’m playing for Kazakhstan for a very, very long time. I represent it on the biggest tournaments, the Olympics, which was a dream come true. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, it’s always some news, but I cannot do anything about this.”
Rybakina is right. She didn’t represent Russia for a very long time. But as expected, Russian news outlets still attempted to use Rybakina’s win as propaganda. On Saturday, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation claimed that “we have won Wimbledon.” There is no truth to this, however. The tennis star made it clear that the statement was false.
“I didn’t choose where I was born,” Rybakina said. “People believed in me. Kazakhstan supported me so much. Even today, I heard so much support. I saw the flags, so I don’t know how to answer these questions.”