(The Guardian) A few months into the 2020 season, one of the most startling revelations was the rise of Elena Rybakina. After stealthily breezing up the rankings in the previous season, she soon became impossible to ignore. Tournament after tournament, her wins piled up and as she demolished serves and bulldozed groundstrokes off both wings, she seemed destined to carry on.
Instead, the pandemic struck and upon the resumption of the tour Rybakina struggled to find her way. Her fleeting moments of excellence were accompanied with frustration and she patientiently awaited a breakthrough. Finally, it has come. A wonderful two weeks when she continually picked up steam means Rybakina has arrived at the very top of the sport.
After navigating all of the nerves and tension that accompanied her maiden grand slam final, Rybakina recovered from a one set deficit to overpower Ons Jabeur, the third seed, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to become Wimbledon champion.
The 23-year-old is the first Kazakhstani player to win a grand slam singles tournament. Having been born in Russia and represented her country of birth until the age of 19, Rybakina switched nationality to Kazakhstan in 2018 after being offered financial support by the national federation.