“I don’t really think about this” – Rybakina prefers not to dwell on her new status as Wimbledon women’s favourite

The 2022 champion is a solid favourite to win it all after reaching the quarter-finals

Rybakina Wimbledon 2024 | Gepa / Panoramic Rybakina Wimbledon 2024 | Gepa / Panoramic

She’s the highest seed remaining in the draw, and the only former champion as well. She’s 18-2 lifetime at these Championships, and one of the most daunting, lethal grass-court players in the sport.

And yes, as of Monday, she’s the oddsmaker’s favourite to win it all at Wimbledon this year. But Elena Rybakina, who sailed into her third consecutive quarter-final on Monday with a 6-3, 3-0 RET win over Anna Kalinskaya, isn’t stressing over it.

“I don’t really think about this when I go on the court,” the 2022 champion said. “Of course, it gives more confidence. But no matter what, there is still a lot of good players. As I say, I don’t really think about it so much.”

Looking back at her run to the title in 2022, one where she started as a longshot to win the title with 100 to 1 odds before the tournament (according to ESPN), Rybakina says she has changed significantly in the last two years. The biggest change? Experience.

“Definitely I changed a lot,” the 25-year-old told reporters on Monday. “I got much more experience. I think before going further in the draw I was pretty nervous in 2022. But now I feel just more confidence playing match by match.

“It is different. At the same time when you go on the court you still nervous a little bit. I think now with all the experiences, I just enjoy much more on the court. If I’m nervous, it’s just first few games, not like it was in 2022 when I played against Ons [Jabeur in the final], it was first set when I just couldn’t manage my emotions, I was too nervous. Then slowly, slowly I started to feel better.”

On facing Svitolina

Rybakina will face Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina next. She owns a 3-1 record over the Ukrainian, including a win over her in the round of 16 at Roland-Garros last month.

“She’s a tough opponent. She reads the game well,” Rybakina said. “She defends pretty good. Some slices here and there. It’s not going to be easy, of course. But if I play aggressive, I’m going to serve well, I have all the chances to win of course. I will try to focus on myself and see how it goes.”

Chris Evert: All Eyes Will Be On Rybakina

Rybakina improves to 18-2 lifetime at Wimbledon with her win, further proof of her top-tier talent on the surface, and specifically at SW19.

Commentating for ESPN, 18-time major champion Chris Evert tabbed the fourth-seeded Kazakhstani as her favourite, as well. Evert says that losses by Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek, plus last week’s withdrawal by Aryna Sabalenka, due to a shoulder injury, have made her the easy pick.

“We were talking about Coco Gauff, we were talking about Iga Swiatek, we were talking about Sabalenka to win, those were the top three in everybody’s mind, but now she is front and center and she is everybody’s favourite – she is the best grass-court player left in the draw. She’s had more experience than anyone, she knows what it’s like to win this title, she knows what it feels like to walk out in the final match – that pressure is familiar to her.

“All eyes are on her now, we’ll see how she handles the pressure, and there’s still a lot of great players left in the draw.”

Rybakina has held her end of the bargain, particularly in the last two rounds, in which she has dropped just four games.

In the third round against former Grand Slam champion Caroline Wozniacki, she won 25 of 31 first-serve points. She has lost just 25 first-serve points through four rounds (109-133). 

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *