Winning Wimbledon was a dream come true for Elena Rybakina, but the experience hasn’t been exactly pleasant so far and her mood is unlikely to change after she exits the US Open in the first round.
Although born in Russia, Rybakina stunned the tennis world as she became the first Kazakh player to win a Grand Slam as she enjoyed a magical run at SW19, beating Ons Jabeur in the final.
But she’s struggled to repeat that success on the WTA Tour since that match, losing in the first round at the Silicon Valley Classic, second round Canadian Open and quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open.
On Tuesday, she was eliminated in the first round of the season-ending Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, losing to French qualifier Clara Burel 6-4, 6-4. Burel, ranked at No. 131 in the world, broke the opener twice and once in second for the biggest win of her career.
For Rybakina, her experience as a Wimbledon champion wasn’t the best and she admitted ahead of the US Open that “I feel like I’m not actually the Wimbledon champion”.
Part of her dissatisfaction stems from losing ranking points after the WTA stripped Wimbledon of points after the All England Club decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the competition due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 23-year-old, who has played for Kazakhstan since 2018, was 23rd ahead of Wimbledon but failed to pick up the 2,000 points awarded to the champion and found herself 25th at Flushing Meadows.
Another disappointment was the planning as they played on outdoor courts despite being a Wimbledon champion.
She was forced to play Court 12 at Flushing Meadows, which isn’t exactly something you’d expect from a reigning Grand Slam champion.
Ahead of the tournament, Rybakina aimed for the “weak lead” and is unlikely to change her mind after the recent fiasco.
“Not to offend anyone, I think there’s a lot more to talk about and a lot more things to improve on the tour. Balls are something we should talk about, but I don’t think that’s the main issue,” she said.
“Everything was new to me after Wimbledon. Looking back over those few weeks of playing tournaments I would say it was a great achievement for me. Of course I’m very proud of my team.
“From experience I would say it wasn’t the greatest. I think that’s the problem with the structure of the tour. To be honest, a bit of a weak lead because we have so many things going. It was my dream to win Wimbledon. It is [a] Sympathy. I feel like I’m not actually the Wimbledon champion.
“It takes time to realize, but going from tournament to tournament is how you feel at the end of the day. Yes, of course, it’s all around. It is [the] points situation. I don’t think it’s fair.
“Of course we can’t change that. It was a decision beforehand, nobody said anything about it. Knowing that from today I will be number 2 in the race and not able to compete in the race, I don’t think it’s fair. I’m not just talking about myself, I think in general I think a lot of players are paying for all those choices with all the choices.”
Rybakina would have been comfortably in the top 10 if she had scored points at Wimbledon and now she is likely to slide further down the WTA rankings after her early exit from the US Open.
The article Elena Rybakina’s post-Wimbledon troubles continues and her views on ‘weak’ leadership that is unlikely to change appeared first on Tennis365.com.