Yelena Rybakina is the first Kazakh Grand Slam winner. In the Wimbledon final, Ons Jabeur initially dominated. In the end, the Maria conqueror had to admit defeat to the native Russian.

Jelena Rybakina clenched her fist, blew briefly and celebrated her Wimbledon triumph without much emotion at first.

Even when the first Kazakh Grand Slam tournament winner received the Venus Rosewater Dish as a trophy from Duchess Kate, the 23-year-old seemed overwhelmed by her unexpected premiere success. “I’m speechless, I was super nervous before the game and during the game,” Rybakina said. “I’m glad it’s over, I’ve never felt anything like it.”

She turned the final against Ons Jabeur from Tunisia, second in the world rankings, 3: 6, 6: 2, 6: 2 and was able to celebrate the greatest success of her career. Jabeur, who defeated Tatjana Maria in the semifinals, initially dominated the game. Rybakina fought back with her powerful game in front of celebrities like actor Tom Cruise.

Two million pounds in prize money for Rybakina

The native Russian, who changed her nationality in 2018, will receive two million British pounds (equivalent to 2.36 million euros) for her triumph. Jabeur gets £1.05million missing out on Arab and African player’s first Grand Slam title “I’m glad that I’ve inspired so many generations from my country,” said the 27-year-old, who has repeatedly emphasized that she plays for all Arab and African players. “You are an inspiration not only for juniors, but for everyone,” Rybakina enthused about her opponent. “You have an incredible game, I enjoy playing you so much.”

Because of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, professionals from Russia and Belarus were excluded from Wimbledon. Moscow-born Rybakina had said several times during the tournament that she was happy to represent Kazakhstan. “You believed in me. There’s no longer a question of how I feel. I’ve been on a journey as a Kazakh player for a long time.” When asked about the war, she said that she wanted it “to be over as soon as possible”. After her victory, she thanked the Kazakh association president for the trust.

Before the final, she avoided questions about where she lived in Moscow. Due to her many trips as a professional athlete, she is actually at home on the tour. “I spend most of my time on tour. I train between tournaments in Slovakia and have camps in Dubai. So I don’t live anywhere to be honest.”

Jabeur gets the first set

It quickly became clear that it would be a completely different game for Jabeur than in the semifinals against Maria, which had been characterized by finesse and many backspin duels on both sides. As usual, Rybakina relied on her powerful serve and powerful groundstrokes. In contrast to the impressive semi-final success against former winner Simona Halep of Romania, she showed nerves and struggled with her opponent’s slice. After a backhand error by the Kazakhs, Jabeur got the first break to make it 2-1 and jumped for joy.

Rybakina stayed close in a hard-fought game, but wasn’t able to put enough pressure on her opponent when Jabeur served. The Tunisian used her first set ball for the second break after just 32 minutes and the deserved 6:3.

Rybakina unimpressed

Rybakina was initially unimpressed and took the service from her opponent for the first time with the first chance. Jabeur still had fun, headed a ball after the point, returning a lob running back through the legs. But rhythm, concentration and a little later the second set were gone.

Also in the decisive round, Rybakina had fewer problems with her opponent’s drop shots than at the beginning and immediately got the break. Jabeur became increasingly desperate and missed three breakballs when the score was 2:3. Instead, she gave up her own serve again and allowed herself an error on Rybakina’s first match point.