Russian Tennis President Shamil Tarpischev reportedly claimed credit after Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina won this year's Wimbledon title. Rybakina, 23, was born in Moscow and she started her career representing Russia.
In 2018, Rybakina switched her nationality and since then she has been representing Kazakhstan. Russian players were banned from competing at this year's Wimbledon but Rybakina was allowed to compete since she is know recognized as a Kazakh player.
On Saturday, Rybakina claimed her maiden Grand Slam title after beating Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final 3-6 6-2 6-2. “It’s very nice. Well done Rybakina. We have won the Wimbledon tournament," Tarpischev told Russian media DNA.
Rybakina underlined she is a Kazakh player
The more Rybakina was progressing at Wimbledon, the trickier questions she started receiving. Following her semifinal victory over Simona Halep, Rybakina was asked whether she still feels Russian.
After winning her maiden Grand Slam, Rybakina faced more tricky questions but calmly shut them down by reiterating that she is happy to be representing Kazakhstan. "I can only say that I'm representing Kazakhstan.
I didn't choose where I was born," Rybakina said. "I'm playing for Kazakhstan very, very long time. I represent on the biggest tournaments, Olympics, which was dream come true. People believed in me. Kazakhstan supported me so much.
Even today I heard so many support. I saw the flags. So I don't know how to answer these questions." Rybakina didn't have a great preparation for Wimbledon and she wasn't considered among top favorites for the title.
After winning Wimbledon, Rybakina admitted she didn't even expect to reach the second week at the tournament. "I didn't expect I was going to be in the second week of both a Grand Slam and Wimbledon. To be a winner, it's just amazing," Rybakina said after winning the title. "Honestly, I don't have the words to say how happy I am."