Indian Wells winner Rybakina joins Sabalenka in setting sights on No 1 ranking

Elena Rybakina admitted on Sunday that her ultimate goal is becoming No 1 in the world. She is up to No 7 after beating Aryna Sabalenka in the Indian Wells final.

Elena Ryakina, Indian Wells 2023 Elena Ryakina, Indian Wells 2023 | © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Elena Rybakina is becoming a woman of many titles but is remaining a woman of few words.

Rybakina won Wimbledon last summer and added a 1,000-point title to her haul by triumphing at the BNP Paribas Open with a 7-6(11), 6-4 victory over Aryna Sabalenka on Sunday afternoon. The two sets required two hours and four minutes.

As usual, Rybakina’s post-match press conference didn’t last nearly as long. The Kazakh never says much, but she did admit that her eye is on the No 1 ranking.

“I think the biggest goal is of course to be No 1,” she said when asked what she ultimately hopes to accomplish in this sport. “There is still a long way to go. So this is kind of the end goal, I would say.

“For now I’m 7, but you know how quickly the ranking (can) change. So I need to always focus on the next tournament I play.”

As Rybakina mentioned, she will climb to No 7 on Monday. She would be ranked higher if Wimbledon had awarded ranking points (2,000 for Rybakina) in 2022.

Sabalenka: No 1 is “my first priority”

Sabalenka remains No 2 behind Iga Swiatek, whom Rybakina defeated in the Indian Wells semi-finals. Like the player who got the best of her on Sunday in the desert, Sabalenka also has her sights set on the top spot.

“It’s my first priority I would say,” the Belarusian said during an interview with Reem Abulliel last month. “I really want it. It’s going to be really tough and that’s why I really want to achieve it — because it seems impossible but I want to make it possible.”

Even after Swiatek failed to defend her Indian Wells title from last spring, Sabalenka still trails the Pole by more than 3,000 ranking points. Rybakina is still more than 3,000 points behind Sabalenka.

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