Iga Swiatek - Miami open 2024, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina - Australian Open 2023

Aryna Sabalenka ‘tougher’ than Iga Swiatek claims Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina has spoken about her rivalry with Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, admitting that she finds it ‘tougher’ to play the world No.2.

Rybakina is set to return to action at Roland Garros, after withdrawing from the Italian Open due to illness.

This is not the first tournament that the 2022 Wimbledon champion has pulled out from due to poor health this year, but Rybakina has revealed that she is now feeling better, “Of course now I’m feeling much better, and it’s always pity to miss these big tournaments. But if the health issues are there, then you cannot do anything.”

The clay court season has been dominated by the aforementioned Swiatek, who is on a 12-match winning streak after winning both titles in Madrid and Rome.

Despite this, Rybakina confessed to finding it more challenging to play Sabalenka, “Well, I would say Aryna. We play a lot of tough matches, and she’s very aggressive. She has good power. And with Iga I feel like I have more dominant in the, just, game by my power over Iga. With Aryna, it’s tougher.”

Rybakina is actually the only player to have beaten Swiatek on clay in 2024, with the Kazakhstani yet to lose to the three-time Roland Garros champion on the surface.

This is something that Rybakina admitted gives her ‘a lot of confidence’ heading into the second major of the year, “Yeah, of course, it gives me a lot of confidence. As I always say, I think I improve every year, every tournament. Of course these wins against Iga, it gives you confidence.”

Swiatek will begin her Roland Garros title defence against French qualifier Leolia Jeanjean tomorrow, while Sabalenka and Rybakina begin their campaigns on Tuesday.

Inside the baseline…

Iga Swiatek is obviously the best player in the world week in and week out, but that does not mean that Elena Rybakina’s claims are not valid. Swiatek does tend to struggle more against hard-hitting players including the likes of Rybakina and Jelena Ostapenko, which is representative in her head-to-heads against these two. At the same time, Swiatek is the overwhelming favourite for the Roland Garros title again this year and it would take a big shock for that not to come to fruition.

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Elena Rybakina vs Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka

Despite Swiatek being the world No.1, Rybakina’s claims are supported by their respective head-to-head’s:

Elena Rybakina vs Iga Swiatek

Overall: 4-2

On clay: 2-0

Elena Rybakina vs Aryna Sabalenka

Overall: 3-6

On clay: 0-1

Iga Swiatek vs Aryna Sabalenka

Overall: 8-3

On clay: 5-1

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.