Just a few weeks ago, Elena Rybakina earned arguably tennis’ most sought-after accolade: becoming a Wimbledon winner.
However, despite her first capital Grand Slam victory in London in July, she describes her experience as Wimbledon champion as “not the best”, saying she feels like “not being the Wimbledon champion”. .
Rybakina’s frustrations come after world ranking points were not awarded at Wimbledon this year in response to the tournament organizer’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Typically, Rybakina’s world ranking would have skyrocketed after winning Wimbledon – one would have expected her to break into the top 10 in another year. However, the 23-year-old has dropped to 25th in the world.
And speaking ahead of the US Open which starts on Monday, Kazakh Rybakina expressed her displeasure with life since winning her maiden Grand Slam.
“It was my dream to win Wimbledon,” Rybakina told reporters in New York on Friday. “It’s a shame. I feel like I’m actually not the Wimbledon champion.
She added: “I don’t think that’s fair. Of course, we cannot change it. It was a decision (made) before. I’m not just talking about me, but generally speaking I think with all the decisions, a lot of players are paying for all of those decisions.
“In a tournament, I’m going to play against the greatest champion, (Garbine) Muguruza, and we’re playing on the 4th court. It’s kind of like (a) question for me.”
She also lamented that her time as a Grand Slam winner has not matched others in the past, explaining that if ranking points had been awarded and she would have made it into the top 10, she would have been treated differently, playing on better grounds and being looked upon more favorably.
“Experientially, I would say it wasn’t the best.”
Rybakina, who was born in Russia but has represented Kazakhstan since 2018, shocked the tennis community by beating No. 3 seed Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final last month.
And while she became Kazakhstan’s first Grand Slam winner, the ranking points ban saw her lose 2,000 points for the race to the WTA Finals – women’s tennis’ season-ending event. – where she would be in second place if she had received them.
The top eight advance to the final, but Rybakina currently sits 20th heading into the US Open, leaving her an uphill battle to make the event in October.
“It’s all around. This is the point situation. I don’t think that’s fair,” Rybakina said.
“Knowing that from today I will be number 2 in the Race and that I cannot play the Race, I do not think it is fair. I’m not just talking about me, but generally speaking I think with all the decisions, a lot of players are paying for all of those decisions.
Rybakina, the No. 25 seed at the US Open, begins her bid for back-to-back Grand Slam titles on Tuesday, taking on France’s Clara Burel in the first round.
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