Wimbledon: Rybakina savours 'amazing' women's title triumph

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Surprise champion Elena Rybakina doubted she would make the second week at Wimbledon, never mind win the title.

After a 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory over hot favourite Ons Jabeur, Rybakina spoke of her pride at becoming the first player representing Kazakhstan to win a grand slam singles title.

She is Russian-born and raised, switching nationality four years ago after receiving financial incentives to do that, so in a year when players representing Russia were banned from Wimbledon, her triumph has perhaps come at an inopportune moment for tournament chiefs.

Rybakina was concerned purely with sporting success rather than politics and war on a day when she picked apart Jabeur's game so impressively in the second and third sets.

She became the first women's singles champion to come back and win after dropping the opening set of a Wimbledon final since Amelie Mauresmo did so against Justine Henin in 2006.

"I'm speechless because I was super nervous before the match, during the match, and I'm honestly happy it's finished," said Rybakina.

"Really, I've never felt something like this. I just want to say big thanks to the crowd for their support, it was unbelievable all these two weeks.

"I didn't expect to be in the second week at Wimbledon and to be a winner is just amazing."

Rybakina, whose world ranking of 23 matches her age, hailed third seed Jabeur, who had been bidding to become Africa's first women's singles champion in a grand slam.

"I want to thank Ons for the great match and everything you achieved," Rybakina said. "You are inspirational, not just for the young juniors but for everybody. You have an amazing game and I don't think we have someone [else] like this on tour. It's just a joy to play against you."

Rybakina was presented with the trophy by the Duchess of Cambridge, and she savoured playing in front of British royalty.

It has been widely perceived that a factor behind the ban on Russians and Belarusians this year was that the optics of royalty handing over the trophy to a player from either country would not be ideal, given the Kremlin-led ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

The Duchess spoke warmly to Rybakina as she presented the trophy, and the newest grand slam winner on the women's tour had a message for the royals, too.

"Thank you for the Royal Box," she said. "I'm playing first time [in front of royalty] and it's an honour to be here in front of you. Thank you so much. It's just an unbelievable atmosphere, thank you."

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