Elena Rybakina explains why Aryna Sabalenka is tougher rival for her than Iga Swiatek

Rybakina makes a bit surprise pick when asked to pick a tougher to play Swiatek and Sabalenka.

by Dzevad Mesic
Elena Rybakina explains why Aryna Sabalenka is tougher rival for her than Iga Swiatek
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Elena Rybakina reveals she actually finds Aryna Sabalenka tougher to play against than Iga Swiatek and claims the reason for that lies in the fact that she and the Belarusian tennis star have a very similar game style. 

Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, is the player with the most wins against Swiatek since the Pole became the world No. 1 - having beaten the Pole four times in their last five meetings. Overall, Rybakina owns a 4-2 head-to-head versus Swiatek.

On the other side, Rybakina has had some notable wins over Sabalenka but the Belarusian still leads their head-to-head 6-3. Also, Rybakina needed five matches to clinch her first win against Sabalenka.

And at the French Open - where she, Swiatek and Sabalenka are regarded as the top favorites - Rybakina was asked to pick a tougher to play between Swiatek and Sabalenka.

“Well, I would say Aryna. We play a lot of tough matches, and she’s very aggressive. She has good power. And with Iga I feel like I have more dominant in the, just, game by my power over Iga. With Aryna, it’s tougher," Rybakina explained.

Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka
Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde

Rybakina on beating Swiatek leading up to the French Open

In her opening clay tournament of the year, Rybakina won Stuttgart and her run to the title included a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Swiatek. And not only that Rybakina beat Swiatek, but she also became the first player to defeat the Pole in Stuttgart - the world No. 1 was coming off back-to-back Stuttgart titles and had a 10-0 record at the tournament before losing to the Kazakh.

Now at the French Open, Rybakina and Swiatek could face only in the final. If Rybakina makes her first French Open final this year and meets Swiatek there, she admits the Stuttgart win will give her confidence that she can do the same in Paris.

“Yeah, of course, it gives me a lot of confidence. As I always say, I think I improve every year, every tournament. Of course these wins against Iga, it gives you confidence," Rybakina said.

Rybakina plays Greetje Minnen in the French Open first round on Monday.

Elena Rybakina Aryna Sabalenka Iga Swiatek