NEW YORK: Elena Rybakina accused women’s tennis of “weak” leadership on Friday for stripping Wimbledon of rankings points due to the championship’s ban on players from Russia and Belarus.
Rybakina realised a lifelong dream last month when she claimed a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final to claim her first Grand Slam title.
But speaking ahead of the US Open on Friday, Rybakina said she doesn’t feel as if her career has benefited from the boost that would normally come with her Wimbledon crown.
In normal circumstances, winning the prestigious grass-court showpiece would have catapulted the 23-year-old into the top 10, and comfortably on course for a place at the season-ending WTA Finals.
Instead, Rybakina will start her campaign at Flushing Meadows next week as the world number 25, prompting the Moscow-born Kazakh to describe her post-Wimbledon experience on Friday as “not the greatest.”
“I think this is the problem of the structure of the tour,” Rybakina said.
“Honestly, a bit weak leadership because we have so many things going on. It was my dream to win Wimbledon. It’s (a) pity. I feel like actually I’m not the Wimbledon champion.
“It’s everything around. It’s (the) points situation. I don’t think that it’s fair. Of course, we cannot change it. It was a decision before, no one saying about this.”
If rankings points had been granted at Wimbledon, Rybakina would have been second on the WTA’s Race to the Finals standings. Only the top eight qualify for the tournament, and Rybakina is currently 20th in the standings.
“Knowing that as of today I will be No. 2 on the Race (to the WTA Finals) and I’m not able to play the Race, I don’t think it’s fair. I’m talking not only about myself, but just generally I think with all the decisions, many players are paying for all these decisions,” she said.
“For all these decisions, players are paying. That’s what I’m trying to say. I’m not surprised, and this is how I feel also, I’m not surprised that in the end of the day we had many examples when player is actually young and they did amazing results, but in the end decides to quit tennis.”