Elena Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion and the first Kazakhstani player to win a Grand Slam title, has expressed her support for the decision to lift the ban on Russian athletes at major events.
Rybakina, who was born in Moscow and played for Russia until 2018, said she was happy to see her former compatriots compete under their own flag and anthem at Wimbledon this year, after being barred from doing so since 2019 due to the doping scandal.
“I think it was the right decision. I know many Russian players and they are good people. They work hard and they deserve to represent their country,” Rybakina told reporters after her victory over Ashleigh Barty in the final.
Rybakina, who switched her allegiance to Kazakhstan in June 2018, said she did not regret her decision and felt proud to play for her adopted nation.
“I love Kazakhstan. They gave me a lot of support and opportunities. They have a great federation and a great team. I feel very comfortable and welcome there,” she said.
Rybakina, who rose to a career-high ranking of No. 7 after winning Wimbledon, also revealed that she had received a congratulatory message from Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who praised her historic achievement.
“He said he was very proud of me and he invited me to visit him in Astana. It was very nice of him. I’m looking forward to meeting him and thanking him personally,” she said.
Rybakina, who started playing tennis at the age of six, said she had always dreamed of winning Wimbledon, which she considered the most prestigious tournament in the sport.
“It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream come true. I’ve always loved grass courts and I’ve always watched Wimbledon on TV. It’s such a special place with so much history and tradition. To hold this trophy is an amazing feeling,” she said.
Rybakina, who also reached the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics and the final at the Indian Wells Masters this year, said she hoped her success would inspire more young players in Kazakhstan and Russia to pursue their tennis dreams.
“I hope I can be a good example for them. I want to show them that anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself. Tennis is a beautiful sport and it can give you so many opportunities in life,” she said.
Final Thoughts: Elena Rybakina supports lifting of ban on Russian athletes at Wimbledon
Elena Rybakina’s comments on the lifting of the ban on Russian athletes at Wimbledon are significant, as she is both a former Russian player and a current champion who represents Kazakhstan.
Her support for the decision to allow Russian athletes to compete under their own flag and anthem is a clear indication that she believes in the principle of fair play and the right of athletes to represent their country.
Rybakina’s comments also demonstrate her commitment to her adopted nation of Kazakhstan, which she describes as having a “great federation and a great team”. She clearly feels a sense of pride in representing Kazakhstan and is grateful for the opportunities that the country has given her.
Moreover, Rybakina’s success as a player, winning Wimbledon and reaching the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics and the final at the Indian Wells Masters, is an inspiration to young players in Kazakhstan and Russia. She hopes to show them that with hard work and self-belief, anything is possible in tennis.
Overall, Rybakina’s words reflect the complexity of the issues surrounding the ban on Russian athletes and the importance of respecting the rights of individual athletes while upholding the integrity of the sport. Her success as a player and her commitment to her adopted nation make her a role model for young players around the world.
The title of this piece, “Elena Rybakina supports lifting of ban on Russian athletes at Wimbledon”, accurately captures the main message of the article and emphasizes the significance of Rybakina’s comments on this issue.