Elena Rybakina is among the protagonists of these Australian Open 2023, even in spite of her. The Kazakh tennis player went all the way to the semi-final of the Grand Slam tournament, the second of her career after Wimbledon: her outcome, however, was not as lucky, with the defeat suffered at the hands of Aryna Sabalenka.
The champion at the All England Club was also the protagonist off the court. The tennis player's coach, Stefano Vukov, was at the center of the controversy, guilty of not supporting the Kazakh in the correct way. "While I watch Rybakina try to win her second major in 7 months, I hope you find a coach who speaks to you and treats you with respect at all times and will never accept anything less," tweeted Pam Shriver.
Elena Rybakina herself wanted to respond to this accusation, with a post on Instagram: "After a great Australian Open, I read disturbing comments on social media about the behavior of my coach Stefan Vukov. I want to clear up any misunderstanding.
Stefano believed in me for many years, before anyone else. We plan a strategy on how to achieve great things, things that are proving with my successes in the Grand Slams. He is a passionate trainer, with a lot of knowledge. Unlike the people who are making these comments, he knows me deeply as a tennis player and as a person.
Anyone who knows me knows that I would never accept a coach who didn't respect me and all my hard work. I may appear calm on the court and in general, but inside I am a competitive athlete who wants to achieve big goals and Stefano has helped me in a fantastic way.
So please ignore any fake news."
Also Tursunov defends Vukic
She is not the only one who defended the coach: "Pam, I respected you as an entity in tennis but lately I've seen you write a lot of questionable stuff.
This has to top it all off," wrote Tursunov, Belinda Bencic's current coach, who then added: "In your quest to disparage random people in tennis for bizarre reasons, you openly and publicly insulted a man who is solely responsible for you also know who Elena Rybakina is."