Newly crowned Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina said she feared she would not make the second week at the All England Club after beating Ons Jabeur in Saturday’s final. Moscow-born Rybakina, who has represented Kazakhstan for the past four years, fought back to defeat the Tunisian 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. “I did not expect to be in the second week of a Grand Slam at Wimbledon. To be a winner is just amazing. I don’t have the words to say how happy I am,” said the 23-year-old.
“I was super nervous before the match, during the match and I’m happy it’s finished to be honest.”
The big-hitting Rybakina, ranked a modest 23 in the world, had never previously got beyond the last eight at a Slam before this Wimbledon.
“I want to congratulate Ons for a great match and everything you have achieved. I think you are an inspiration for everybody.
“I ran so much, I don’t think I need to do fitness anymore.”
Jabeur was bidding to make history as the first African woman to win a Grand Slam singles title.
But after dominating the first set against a nervous Rybakina, her game fell apart, winning just four of the next 16 games.
“First of all I want to congratulate Elena and her team — great job and she deserved this and hopefully next time it will be mine,” said the world number two.
She then joked: “Elena stole my title but it’s OK.
“I love this tournament so much and I feel really sad, but I’m trying to inspire many generations from my country. I hope they are listening.”
Rybakina’s Croatian coach Stefano Vukov told the BBC that she has the potential to keep on winning.
“She is still raw in so many ways so it’s a long process. We started working together at the smallest events and here we are winning Wimbledon. It’s just the beginning,” he said.
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