Monday, September 25, 2023

Elena Rybakina: The Many Ups and Downs Of The Kazakh Tennis Player!

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In a few months, she completely changed her status and is now the current 6th as of May 2023. Crowned at Wimbledon and finalist at the Australian Open, Elena Rybakina has become one of the big names on the women’s circuit and has finally entered the Top 10 – she should have been part of it long before if the points of Wimbledon had been counted. Beaten in the final by Aryna Sabalenka after a superb match (4-6, 6-3, 6-4), she lost her supreme serenity after she saw coach Stefano Vukov come alive in the stands much so that the vehemence of the latter shocked some. Besides not being given her due victory for being Russian and for being trolled for defending her sulfurous coach, it was  Elena Rybakina who conquered the top honors of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, thanks to a victory of 7-6(11) and 6-4 at the expense of Aryna Sabalenka. She took revenge on Sabalenka after losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Australian Open final in March of this year. For more facts about Elena Rybakina’s interesting career, keep reading.

Elena Rybakina: Serving Controversies In Addition To Wins, Here’s Her Fascinating Life! 

She is not a Russian tennis player:

Elena Andreyevna Rybakina is a Kazakhistani tennis player born on June 17, 1999, in Moscow (Russia), however, she no longer represents Russia because she was naturalized Kazakh in July 2018 when the Kazakh tennis federation financed everything she needed to become a great tennis player. 

As she began to make a name for herself on the circuit, she took Kazakh nationality in 2018, attracted by the financial support of the extremely wealthy local federation chaired by Bulat Utemuratov, whose net worth is claimed to be at 3.5 billion dollars according to Forbes magazine. 

If her past and her Russian ties resurfaced in the particular context of this 2022 edition of Wimbledon, Rybakina quickly evacuated the subject. “I have been playing for Kazakhstan for a long time. I am really happy to represent this country,” she said after her success in the semi-finals against Simona Halep. The president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, however, skillfully hailed this victory on Saturday. ” It’s amazing ! Well done Rybakina! We won the Wimbledon tournament, ”he reacted, quoted by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Childhood in Russia:

The new Russian queen with a Kazakh passport, was  born 23 years ago in Moscow and passed in 2018 under the flag of Kazakhstan, her adopted country. 

She was born Russian and in the absence of Russian and Belarusian players, deprived of the 2022 edition of Wimbledon by decision of the British authorities after the invasion of Ukraine, there was, despite everything, a player trained in Russia in the final. Born on June 1, 1999 in Moscow, she began tennis in clubs in the Russian capital and before becoming world No.3 among juniors was even trained by one of the pioneers of the discipline in the USSR Andrey Chesnokov. 

Her awards were banned due to the Ukraine War:

She has won four singles titles on the WTA circuit, including a Grand Slam title in the most prestigious of tennis temples: Wimbledon (2022) against another female tennis prodigy Ons Jabeur, and at the same time becomes the first Kazakh player in history to win a Grand Slam tournament. However, she will not get the recognition or credit due to her for this achievement since the 2022 edition of the London Slam did not award points, following the WTA’s sanction to the All England Club for banning Russians and Belarusians players due to the war in Ukraine.

When she was 5, she was a gymnast:

Before devoting herself to tennis, she wanted to do gymnastics and skating and she did it very young, before she was declared too old to hope for a future in one of these two sports (even as an adult, she will measure 1.84 meters). It was only at the age of six that she finally started playing professional tennis in 2017. 

She defends the behavior of her coach: 

Despite outside criticism, she once again came to her coach’s defense. 

A few weeks after the Australian Open, Elena Rybakina gave an interview  in which she looked back on her upward trajectory in recent months. She also took the opportunity to express herself again on the controversy born towards her in the final in Melbourne where everything did not end well for her. 

This was particularly the case of the former American player and consultant Pam Shriver who was moved on the day of the final in a tweet: ” As I watch Rybakina in seven months, try to win her second Major, I hope that she will find a coach who talks to her and treats her with respect ALL the time.” A RECURRING AND “UNACCEPTABLE” BEHAVIOR FOR BARTOLI. 

Faced with the extent of the criticism of her coach, the Kazakhstani herself then split a message on social networks to ardently defend her coach, whom she described as someone “passionate”, who had “believed in her”. ” Those who know me well know that I would never accept a coach who does not respect me and all of our work,” she added. 

Marion Bartoli and Stefano Vukov also seem angry at Elena’s coach:

This intervention did not necessarily put an end to the controversy. Recently, Marion Bartoli also went there with her testimony in the “Match Point” podcast on the Tennis Majors site. ” The way Rybakina’s coach talks to him on the court is just something unacceptable. I can’t stand it anymore. (…) And I’ve seen it for myself in the past when I was with Jelena Ostapenko on joint tournaments or in joint training sessions without cameras: I cannot accept these ways of behaving.” 

According to the former French champion, Stefano Vukov would therefore be customary to do so. 

Both Bartoli and Shriver consider this coach-player relationship unhealthy. From there to speak of influence, there is perhaps a step that should not be taken. 

Elena finally concludes, she’s too calm and needs a vicarious coach:

Asked about the subject, the Kazakhi tennis pro reiterated her support for her coach, stressing that the contrast of their personalities was also an asset for her. SOMETIMES I REALLY NEED ENERGY BECAUSE I’M PRETTY CALM 

” Through this message on Instagram, I decided to show the reality that everyone is fine and that everyone should stay in their place and not mix things up. If you look at me on the court, you don’t know what’s going on around, and there’s a lot going on. Even though I seem calm, of course, I always talk to my coach in other ways. During a match it’s not the time, I just go and listen. Sometimes I really need energy because I’m pretty calm and I can only think about myself, only focus on myself, so I need something quickly to understand what’s going on around “, explained Rybakina. 

And the 10th player in the world added: “ My coach helps me a lot. We have open conversations and we have been working together for four years already. don’t realize. And of course when we work on the court I respect him a lot, I try to listen and take in as much information as possible.”

Elena Rybakina kisses the Indian Wells trophy on March 20th:

Rybakina was near perfect over the 12 days of the tournament, conceding only one set to her rivals – in the quarter-finals against Karolina Muchova. Even more impressive, she signaled the exit to world number one Iga Swiatek in two short sets of 6-2 and 6-2 at the semi-finals, beating a player who had outrageously dominated the circuit since the start of the season. In fact, Rybakina is the only one this year to have beaten the Pole more than once.  

Sabalenka led 4-2 in the opening set, but Rybakina managed to close the gap and force a long tiebreaker before closing the set.

“We had our chances in the first set, but I won it,” Rybakyna said during his post-match press conference. So I think that first run was important, and it was a little easier to break down at the start of the second. Then the conditions changed a bit. There was a lot of wind at the end of the second race, which made the game a bit more difficult, but since I already had the lead, it worked in my favor”. 

On May 15th, Elena Rybakina was in the WTA quarter without shaking:

Round 16 of the WTA in Rome, a meeting opposes the world number 70 Marketa Vondrousova to the Kazakh Elena Rybakina, 6th in the world. The two players have already faced each other once in 2021 which ended in a victory for the Czech.

This match ended with the score 2-0 (6-3 6-3) in favor of Elena Rybakina in 1h14. The Kazakh player was never worried during this meeting thanks to her excellent Service, four aces to nil to the advantage of Rybakina.

While Vondrousova was imprecise on her second ball nearly 22% of points won against 43% for the world number 6. 

Elena Rybakina is a player with character:

In her first Grand Slam tournament, beating Ons Jabeur in the final, the Russian player naturalized Kazakh in 2018, Elena Rybakina won Wimbledon in 2022. 

She made history by putting her name on the Wimbledon list after winning in three sets against Tunisia’s world No. 2 (3-6, 6-2, 6-2). The Kazakh Elena Rybakina, 23rd in the standings, however, barely smiled after a last backhand fault by her opponent. No doubt she struggled, then, to realize the extent of her performance. 

“I did not know what to do. I was in shock. I knew deep down that I could do it, but at the same time, there were too many emotions. I was just trying to stay calm. 

Rybakina won the first, in 2019, at the Bucharest Open. 

Coached by the Croatian, Stefano Vukov, she who was then aged 20,  had taken just over an hour to take the measure of the Romanian Patricia Maria Tig in the final (6-2, 6-0). 

At the Hobart Open in Australia, she then won her second title in 2020, at the expense of Chinese Zhang Shuai (7-6, 6-3).

In the Majors, her best performance before Wimbledon dated from 2021. The tall right-hander (1m83), with a powerful serve, had then reached the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros. 

Most interesting was her status after having beaten Serena Williams in the round of 16 before losing her flag to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the Russian. 

The 4th worst ranked was one of her lows: 

(1122nd at the ATP in 2007), Elena Rybakina, who once emerged in 23rd place, was the fourth lowest ranked player to reach the Wimbledon final since the creation of the WTA ranking in 1975. 

The other three were Serena Williams (181st in the world in 2018), Sabine Lisicki (24th in 2013), and the eldest of the Williams sisters (31st in 2007) Venus Williams who then imposed herself by beating 15 years ago, Marion Bartoli, the Frenchwoman. 

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