Elena Rybakina challenges Iga Swiatek: "She's a great player

The Kazakh tennis player, defending champion in Rome, talked about many topics on the eve of her match at the Italian Open

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Elena Rybakina challenges Iga Swiatek: "She's a great player
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

"Iga Swiatek is a great player. It's not easy to play against her, obviously. We had so many difficult battles. I don't know. It seems to me that we played so many times, I mean, I know the tactics and everything I have to do in court. It was a very hard-fought match in Stuttgart."

On the eve of her match at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, the defending champion Elena Rybakina talked about many topics, including the rivalry with WTA No.1 Iga Swiatek, praising the Polish champion. Rybakina also spoke at the press conference, expressing her feelings in view of the start of her Roman adventure.

“I'm really happy to be back. It's great to be here. I've seen some improvements on site. I can't wait to participate in this event,” she told.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Rome is a rather special tournament for Elena. The Kazakh tennis player returns to the Italian capital as a champion, after last year's victory over the Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, who was forced to retire due to an injury at 6-4 1-0 for her opponent.

Rybakina also expressed her point of view on the new format of the WTA 1000, which has been extended to two weeks.

"I would say they are long because it's a bit boring to stay - as if it becomes routine - too long in these tournaments."

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Elena will have the chance to defend for the first time in her career one of the two WTA 1000 titles won last year, considering that she was unable to defend Indian Wells this year due to an injury.

On the busy WTA schedule and the rapid change of surface from hard to clay, she explained: "I didn't train for about three or four days. Today I managed to hit a little bit. I think this is the way to move forward because it's not easy with our calendar. We did a big block of preparation beforehand. I feel like I've played a lot. In Madrid, obviously, the courts are different and everything is different. It seems to me that today's training was positive."

Elena Rybakina Iga Swiatek
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