Elena Rybakina feels like she’s ‘not the Wimbledon champion,’ says life as champion ‘not the greatest’
Elena Rybakina, 24, who holds the No. 20 Australian Open women’s No. 1 ranking, is still the Wimbledon champion, but she does not feel like she’s in the same class as the reigning Roland Garros champion. As a player, she’s happy with being the first African woman to win her first major championship, but she misses competing in Europe, the place where she grew up.
“It’s funny because I know I have a lot to learn. I’m still learning about myself. I still have a lot to learn,” she said. “I’ve just been enjoying my Wimbledon, and now playing in the Australian Open so hopefully can get the No. 1 ranking so I can go and really learn about myself and get more confidence.”
With a first Grand Slam title, the 24-year-old has surpassed three-time Wimbledon champion Kim Clijsters, and two-time Australian Open champion Li Na. But her rise to the top has not come without a struggle: she was forced to miss five weeks of a clay court season because of a broken hip but was able to reclaim the top ranking at the US Open following a successful defence of her Australian Open title.
But although she has been through some tough times on Australian soil, she is still feeling quite positive about the way she’s been able to deal with a new and exciting challenge: becoming a Grand Slam champion.
“If you’re a champion you are kind of always in the same class and you’re also the most famous, and that’s been a bit of an advantage for me,” said Rybakina. “The level that we’re going through at the moment is a bit of a shock,