The names and faces of the star players at Wimbledon didn’t matter to Elena Rybakina. The prestige of the event impressed her.
On Saturday, she will be able to put her name on the wall of champions of the oldest and most prestigious Grand Slam tournament.
“When I was little, I don’t remember many players competing against each other. But when Wimbledon was on TV, everyone was dressed in white. I remember that very well,” Rybakina said.
Strawberries. Champagne. It’s something very, very beautiful to see.
Rybakina is just one win away from his first career major title. Her first appearance in a Grand Slam final.
And her opponent, Ons Jabeur – the first Arab player and the first African to reach this stage. She played four Grand Slam tournaments before.
Jabeur, who is Tunisian, reached the final by defeating Tatjana Maria 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 on Thursday.
Rybakina followed on the Centre Court pitch and defeated 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, 6-3, 6-3.
“I didn’t expect to go that far in the second week of activities, let alone in the final,” said Rybakina.
Rybakina was born in Russia but represented Kazakhstan.
I have enough level of play to go far in the majors. And, of course, I believe that one day I will manage to triumph.
The 2022 Wimbledon championship match will be the first to feature two “rookies” in a Grand Slam final since 1962. That time Karen Susman beat Vera Sukova in straight sets.
Moreover, whether Rybakina or Jabeur wins on Saturday, it will be the first time their respective home countries will win a major title.
Jabeur is nicknamed “the Minister of Joy” because of her contagious smile. She is aware of the feat she has already accomplished at Wimbledon.
“I want to keep climbing, to inspire future generations,” Jabeur said. Tunisia is linked to the Arab world and the African continent… I want to see more players from my country, the Middle East, and Africa.
Jabeur has been one of the best players on the circuit for the past few months. She rises to second place in the world and won the title on grass in Berlin two weeks ago.
Rybakina is the 23rd racket in the world, and she has recorded 13 wins against players in the top 20 in the world.
And at 23, she is the youngest Wimbledon finalist since Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. Garbine was 21 in 2015 when she lost to American Serena Williams.
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