Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has rejected a bonus from the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation and instead asked for the money to be redirected to junior development and the animal shelters in the country. Rybakina, 23, made tennis history at this past Wimbledon as the first became the first Kazakh player ever to reach a Grand Slam final.
Then, Rybakina became the first Kazakh Grand Slam champion after beating Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final 3-6 6-2 6-2. “First of all, of course, I would like to help the juniors, most of the money will go to them,” Rybakina said during a press conference in Kazakhstan, per the Astana Times.
“And the second important point for me: I was at the animal shelter, and I was very much moved by it, so I would like to allocate money for the animal shelter”.
Rybakina grateful to the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation
In 2018, Moscow-born Rybakina switched her nationality and since then she has been representing Kazakhstan.
During a press conferece in Kazakhstan, Rybakina showed gratitude to her tennis federation. “The transition from juniors to an adult professional career is very difficult,” she explained. “Besides the fact that you have to have a good team around you, not everyone is able to continue at the professional level and only a few people reach the top.
I’ve been very lucky in that respect”. At Wimbledon, reporters tried several times to put Rybakina in a tricky situation by asking her if she still felt Russian. Rybakina handled all the tricky questions pretty well as she simply said she was a Kazakhstan player and underlined that she's glad to be playing under the Kazakh flag.
“We found each other, and at the end of the day, I am very happy that my journey continues exactly with Kazakhstan. History is happening together thanks to Kazakhstan. Thank you very much for your support," Rybakina added.