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Elena Rybakina wins Wimbledon



By: Jayden Yao


On July 9th, 2022, Elena Rybakina won Wimbledon. She defeated rising stars such as

Zheng Qinwen, two former Grand Slam champions, Bianca Andreescu and Simona

Halep, as well as the second-best player in the world, Ons Jabeur.


However, this was not the expected outcome from the crowd. You could feel the

disappointment in the stadium after her win was announced. People roared and

cheered for Jabeur, but only politely greeted Elena Rybakina’s victory.


Rybakina grew up in Russia, focusing on ice skating and gymnastics. However, being 6

feet tall, she was told that she was too tall for either of those sports. Her father, a tennis

fan from the age of 20, encouraged her to try out tennis. From the age of 6, Rybakina

would play tennis for 2 hours a day, with 3 hours of fitness training. However, because

she was going to a normal public high school, she also had to balance schoolwork with

her tennis.


In 2018, Rybakina switched nationalities from Russian to Kazakhstan. When asked if

her native country, Russia, would politicalize her victory, she responded, “I don’t know.


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, although not expressing her political allegiance, stated clearly that she

supports Kazakhstan in tennis. “I didn’t choose where I was born. 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.”


“To be honest, we’ve always been underdogs, anyone coming from Eastern Europe,”

said Vukov, “We’ve always had to fight against windmills to break through. It’s not as

easy as for other federations from other countries. Thank God the Kazakhstan

federation has been supporting her.”


Stefano Vukov, Rybakina’s coach, says that as Rybakina continues to advance in

Wimbledon, the more her “Russian roots would loom.” However, he also added that she

did not feel any burdens.



Quotes:

“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.” - Elena

Rybakina


“People believed in me. Kazakhstan supported me so much. Even today, I heard so

much support.” - Elena Rybakina

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