Elena Rybakina Is Establishing Herself Among Tennis' Elite

Rybakina is into the Miami Open semi-finals having just won the Indian Wells title
15:00, 29 Mar 2023

Last summer we were treated to a spectacular final at Wimbledon between two players who had qualified for their first Grand Slam final as Elena Rybakina and Ons Jabeur took to Centre Court in London’s summer sun.

After an enthralling three-set match, Kazakhstan’s Rybakina emerged victorious to claim her first major honour on the professional circuit and the first Kazakh champion in Grand Slam history. At the time she was the number 17 seed and not regarded as one of the favourites for the Wimbledon crown, but since gaining her first taste of major success, she has started to establish herself among the trailblazers of the fresh generation such as Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka.

This comes fresh from the Russian-born star claiming her first WTA Masters 1000 title at the lucrative Indian Wells earlier this month, often referred to as the ‘fifth Grand Slam’. It is the most-attended tennis event outside of the four slams and like the major tournaments, every player wants to win it.


Rybakina was crowned the latest Indian Wells champion as she avenged her Australian Open final defeat to Sabalenka in January, triumphing over Polish sensation Swiatek in the semi-finals. She has now beaten the number one seed twice since her Wimbledon triumph and also beaten experienced professional Simona Halep, which came on her route to the Wimbledon showpiece last July.

Since her Indian Wells win we are already seeing that she has unlocked another level of her game as she is flying in the successive Miami Open. The 23-year-old is preparing to face world No. 3 Jessica Pegula in the semi-finals on Thursday and she is currently enjoying an impressive 12-game winning streak. Many are now expecting her to become the fifth female player to complete the ‘Sunshine Double’ (in the same year) after Steffi Graff, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Swiatek

As well as being a talented tennis player, Rybakina is showing that she is a thoroughly decent human being. She recently donated £62k of her Wimbledon winnings to 14 young tennis players back in Kazakhstan, to give back to the next generation. She remains humble with her victories and remembers where she came from in aiding the development of the young stars back home. And while she isn’t the most popular among fans because of her silent nature on court, she is letting her tennis do the talking as she continually puts on a show for the crowds.

Jimmy Connors put it perfectly on the Advantage Connors Podcast: "You're not out there to win a popularity contest. You're there to win a tennis match." The eight-time Grand Slam winner also emphasised how much emotions play a controlling role on what goes on on court and praised Rybakina for how she handles herself. Just casting our minds back to the first part of Netflix's Break Point docuseries, we know that there is substance to what he says.

While she is still young and still developing her game, Rybakina is showing a great composure to her game and that stems from winning titles. On current form she is the player that no one on the WTA circuit wants to face right now because she is playing like a seasoned champion and looks unstoppable. 

The reigning Wimbledon champion is still learning on court but her experiences over the past nine months have accelerated her development and she is starting to demonstrate that she is becoming one of the greatest players of this generation. The growing strength of her game and decision-making on court, along with the composure she is now oozing, is blending like a perfect cocktail which is only going to lead to further success.

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