Elena Rybakina - Australian Open 2023

Elena Rybakina ‘hopes to start on big court’ at Australian Open after 2023 snub

Elena Rybakina has admitted that she was ‘a bit upset’ at the Australian Open last year, with the Kazakhstani speaking about the court selection after winning her sixth career title in Brisbane yesterday.

Rybakina played Aryna Sabalenka yesterday, in a repeat of the 2023 Australian Open final, but this time she was on the winning side of the result, beating the Belarusian 6-0 6-3.

This dominant victory in the final was a representation of Rybakina’s week, with the 24-year-old dropping only 15 games throughout her five matches in Brisbane.

However, Rybakina suggested that she was lucky in moments, “Well, I think the score doesn’t show the reality because all the games were quite tight, to be honest. Couple of moments maybe I was a bit luckier. I knew that no matter the score, is going to be still difficult in the second set. It was just few moments again where it could turn other way around.

“As I said, I didn’t expect that the scores are going to be like this. In the end, I think it was still not as easy as it might look from outside.”

Rybakina added, “Yeah, for sure it gives confidence, but as I said it’s always tough battles against Aryna. This week is just the beginning for all the players. I feel like maybe not everyone catch still the best form. I’m playing well now, so hopefully, as I said, I continue.”

At the Australian Open last year, Rybakina, who was reigning Wimbledon champion at the time, began her campaign against Elisabetta Cocciaretto on the smaller Court No.13.

This caused some controversy amongst fans, but it did not seem to phase Rybakina, who lost only one set en route to reaching her first final in Melbourne.

However, the now world No.3 has revealed that she would prefer to start on a bigger court this year, “Well, I hope I’m going to start on the big court this year. Of course before I was a bit upset why I’m playing on that court [13], not on another one.

“By now I don’t really care on which court I’m going to play. I just try to focus on my game and go so far in the tournament that I’m going to be playing always on center court.”

Rybakina will return to the Australian Open that begins on Sunday 14th January later this week, but first she has headed to the WTA 500 event in Adelaide as the top seed.

Inside the baseline…

It was a sensational performance from Elena Rybakina in Brisbane, who is perhaps being a bit modest about her dominance over the past week. Having reached the final of the Australian Open last year, it would seem unlikely that she will be on a smaller court once again. What we do know is that Rybakina will be one of the favourites heading to Melbourne, with the Kazakhstani looking to add more silverware in Adelaide this week.

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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.