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Russian-born Wimbledon champion reveals tattoo bet

Elena Rybakina won a maiden Grand Slam title in London

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has revealed that coach Stefano Vukov now has her name inked onto his skin along with the date of her Grand Slam success as a memento of her title win in London last month.

The Russian-born Rybakina, 23, clinched a first Grand Slam title at the All England Club with a three-set comeback victory over second seed Ons Jabeur in the final.

Now preparing for the US Open with a major title under her belt, Rybakina revealed that the results of her Wimbledon win extended to an unusual gesture from her Croatian coach.

“I already forgot [about the bet], we were laughing around,” Rybakina said, as quoted by The Guardian.

“Before the final, he told me that he would do it [get a tattoo of my name]. So, he did it. For me, it’s still crazy, I can’t believe it. But it is what it is. We had a bet.”

Rybakina celebrated with Vukov after her Wimbledon win. © Julian Finney / Getty Images

The Moscow-born Rybakina represented her country of birth until switching allegiances to Kazakhstan in 2018 with the promise of more funding.

Her status meant she was not subjected to the ban imposed on Russian and Belarusian players by Wimbledon bosses because of the conflict in Ukraine, although many saw the irony of a Russian-born player still lifting the title.

Rybakina began working with current coach Vukov in 2019, and he described their professional relationship after her Wimbledon win as being an ideal blend.  

“My energy against her calmness,” Vukov told Tennis Majors.

“Elena is a great girl. I was looking for a player who really wanted to listen and to improve. I found this in Elena, and she found in me a lot of information and a lot of energy.

“It is not that easy to click with a player, you need to understand her really well. Many things came together here, but with her style of game, I understood what she had to do from the first time I saw her.”

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Rybakina won Wimbledon under the Kazakh flag. © AELTC / Joe Toth / Getty Images
Wimbledon queen discusses Russian origins

Rybakina’s success saw a whirlwind of activities in Kazakhstan in the following days as she was feted by government ministers and youngsters as the nation’s first Grand Slam singles title winner.

The world number 25 said in July that events had taken an “emotional and physical toll” on her, and admitted again that it had been a relentless period.

“It was really nice to see, especially kids, how happy they were to see me. They were hugging, taking pictures,” said the star.

“But it was actually very tough for me, just because there were many activities. I didn’t have much rest, to be honest.”

Rybakina’s success triggered something of a back-and-forth between Russian and Kazakh tennis officials.

Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpischev described the player as a “product” of the Russian system, meaning the country could also share her success. Unsurprisingly, his Kazakh counterparts claimed a more considerable role in Rybakina’s development.   

READ MORE: Russia didn’t let Wimbledon queen Rybakina slip away, argues tennis boss

Rybakina will aim to follow her Wimbledon success at the US Open when the action begins in New York on Monday.

Rybakina will be seeded 25th at Flushing Meadows. That is in line with her WTA rating, which was not boosted despite her Grand Slam title after the tour organization stripped Wimbledon of its rankings points in response to its Russian and Belarusian ban.      

https://ift.tt/DfAu9vB 25, 2022 at 03:11PM
from RT – Daily news

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