Could 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina join Swiatek, Osaka at the top?
As Serena Williams nears the end of her career and Ash Barty has just retired, Elena Rybakina has made her way into the void of Wimbledon.
With some consistency in the biggest tournaments, tennis may well have a new rival for Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka on the women’s circuit.
Rybakina, 23, won her first major Wimbledon title on Saturday in her second appearance at the All England Club. She beat Ons Jabeur, another player capable of staying at the top of the game for a long time, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 on center court.
I think right now (the) generation is changing a bit and (there are) so many young players, Rybakina told a panel of five journalists. “But I’m pretty sure that in (a) few years one player, two, three will dominate.
For now it was Iga with the big strikes. I think she was playing amazing. I also think now that she will continue to do well. So I don’t know, maybe that will change. Maybe it will be someone new every week.
Swiatek was upset in the third round of this year’s tournament, ending a 37-game winning streak just weeks after claiming her second French Open title.
Williams came out even earlier. The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is 40 and holds seven All England Club titles, lost in the first round. It was his first singles match since being retired in the first round last year due to injury.
The defending champion through Saturday was Barty. But she retired shortly after winning this year’s Australian Open. She was only 25 at the time.
All of this makes Rybakina an early favorite for the US Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the season.
I wasn’t really thinking about the US Open and upcoming tournaments yet, Rybakina said. “But I don’t know, so many good players and different players have just won Grand Slams in the past, so I really don’t know how I’m going to feel there.
But for sure I think I’m getting there more confident.
She should have plenty of it. At Wimbledon, Rybakina led the tournament with 53 aces, almost twice as many as second-place Caroline Garcia with 30.
And she used this service to get out of trouble at the end of the match against Jabeur after having lost only her second set of the fortnight at the start of the day.
At 3-2 in the deciding set, Jabeur held three break points at 40 and was close to returning serve.
I knew I had this big weapon, the serve, but it didn’t work the whole first set. And Ons, she was using the serve very well, Rybakina said in her post-match press conference. I just thought I needed those big serves right now because otherwise it’s going to be really hard to play again.
She got them, and she held on. Jabeur did not win another game.
I think she is one of the best of the younger generation, Jabeur said. I don’t know how old she is, but she’s really young, I think. She plays really well.
Apart from his grass game, Rybakina also had to answer questions about his nationality. She was born in Russia but switched to play for Kazakhstan in 2018.
Switching allegiance isn’t normally controversial, but the topic has come up several times this year after Russian and Belarus players were banned from Wimbledon due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Rybakina called his decision to play for another country perfect timing.
I would say I’m lucky because the federation of Kazakhstan, at the same time they were looking for (a) player to help,” said Rybakina, “and they believed in me, so I think I had lucky at that time and we just found ourselves like that.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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