all scores

Russian tennis official takes credit for Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon win

Elena Rybakina competes for Kazakhstan. (Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

After Elena Rybakina won Wimbledon on Saturday, Russia was quick to claim the win as their own.

Russian Tennis Federation president Shamil Tarpishchev called Rybakina “our product,” though the Russian-born player now competes for Kazakhstan.

“It’s very nice! Well done Rybakina! We win the Wimbledon tournament,” Tarpischev said Saturday according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti. He later told Championat that her training program in Russia is the reason for her win.

“It’s the Russian school, after all,” he said. “She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan.”

Russian and Belarusian athletes were banned from the tournament due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the WTA later stripped the tournament of ranking points.

While some Russian officials have claimed the win, Rybakina’s triumph will go down as the first Grand Slam win for Kazakhstan. Rybakina, who was born in Moscow, switched countries in 2018 due to financial reasons.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s always some news, but I cannot do anything about this,” Rybakina said Saturday when asked if the Russian government would be tempted to politicize her Grand Slam triumph.

She then reiterated her allegiance to Kazakhstan and pleaded for understanding when asked about condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Both of Rybakina’s parents still reside in Moscow.

“I’m playing for Kazakhstan a very long time,” she continued. “I represent them on the biggest tournaments, Olympics, which was a dream come true.

“I didn’t choose where I was born. People believed in me. Kazakhstan supported me so much. Even today I heard so much support. I saw the flags. So I don’t know how to answer these questions.”