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Rybakina flashes Kazakh passport at press conference upon returning home

The new Wimbledon ladies champion received a rapturous welcome back home in Nur-Sultan

Elena Rybakina attends a press conference in Nur Sultan in 2022 Elena Rybakina attends a press conference in Nur Sultan in 2022

Wimbledon ladies champion Elena Rybakina returned to Kazakhstan on Wednesday and fended off questions about her citizenship once again.

The Moscow-born Rybakina switched allegiance to Kazakhstan four years ago after getting support from the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation to support her career. With Russian and Belruarisn players being banned from the tournamentS in the United Kingdom this year, Rybakina’s nationality and citizenship came under increased scrutiny as she advanced to the deeper end of the tournament.

On Wednesday, Rybakina flashed her Kazakh passport to these present at a press conference where she was asked about former Russuan men’s player Yeevegny Hafelkinov comments in a tweet, where he took dig at Kazakshtan’s method of buying players.

“I don’t really agree with this formulation,” Rybakina said. “The transition of juniors to the professional circuit is very difficult. You need a good team. Not everyone is able to succeed in this transition by continuing to be successful. Only a small number succeed, I’m very lucky.”

The 23-year-old received a hero’s welcome in Nur-Sultan and also received the ‘Order of Friendship‘ award by the Kazakh government.

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