‘She lives in Moscow, her parents live in Moscow….she’s Russian!’: Fury as tennis fans mock Wimbledon’s ban on Russian players competing in this year’s event after Moscow-born Elena Rybakina won her first Grand Slam title on Centre Court
Tennis fans have taken to social media to mock Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian players from competing in this year’s event after Moscow-born Elena Rybakina won the Ladies’ Singles Final on Saturday.
The 23-year-old – who now represents Kazakhstan – came from behind to beat Tunisia’s world No. 2 Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the blazing heat on Centre Court to win her first ever Grand Slam singles title.
But with players from Russia and Belarus banned by the All England Club earlier this year as a result of the invasion and war in Ukraine, Rybakina’s achievement has caused anger amongst supporters on social media.
Elena Rybakina’s title win has sparked discussion over Wimbledon’s ban on Russian players
The world no. 23 was allowed to compete having chosen to represent Kazakhstan in 2018
The world No. 23 was allowed to compete in the tournament because she switched to represent Kazakhstan when she was 19 after the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation offered her financial support.
Users of social media questioned the rules set by Wimbledon’s chiefs, with one fan writing: ‘Ironic that a tournament that has banned Russians from participating is won by a thoroughbred Russian woman born in Moscow.’
‘Credit to Elena Rybakina, who switched to Kazakhstan in 2018, but she lives in Moscow, her parents live in Moscow….she’s Russian! And she deserved her victory!’, another wrote.
Another user said: ‘Not sure if it’s funny or ironic that Wimbledon bans Russian players from this year’s event (resulting in the No. 1 ranked man not being allowed to participate), yet a player that was born and lives in Moscow, Russia wins the women’s singles title. Ironic?’
Men’s world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, who beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open final last year, was not allowed to compete in this year’s competition because of the ban.
The 23-year-old came from behind to beat Tunisia’s world No2 Ons Jabeur (R) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
When Wimbledon decided to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes following the invasion of Ukraine, it was partly to avoid the propaganda opportunities should British royalty end up presenting a player from one of those two countries with the trophy.
It was more than a little uncomfortable, therefore, that the Duchess of Cambridge did indeed give the Venus Rosewater Dish to a player born, raised and reportedly still a resident in Russia.
Russian media have been celebrating Rybakina’s success and the outcome shows the difficulty of implementing such a policy in an individual and very international sport.
Pre-match the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, had said: ‘It’s nice that Elena will play in the Wimbledon final, she is our product. Of course we will cheer for her.’
Men’s no. 1 Daniil Medvedev was not allowed to compete due to rules set by All England Club
The player herself had made it clear she was here to represent Kazakhstan, and that she wanted Russia’s war in Ukraine to end.
Wimbledon was stripped of rankings points by the ATP Tour and the WTA in May after the tournament elected to ban Russian and Belarusian tennis players because of the ongoing Ukraine war.
Having represented Kazakhstan since 2018, the 23-year-old is proud of her heritage.
In an Instagram post last September Rybakina smiled while holding up the flag of Kazakhstan.
She wrote: ‘For the first time the WTA 250 tournament will take place in Kazakhstan in a couple of weeks!
‘I am very happy about this event and would like to say a big thank you [to the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation].’