Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina rejects bonus, asks instead for junior investment
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has turned down a bonus from the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation in favour of the money being redirected to developing the game in the country.
The 23-year-old became both the first singles Slam finalist to represent Kazakhstan and then the first singles Slam champion from the nation after defeating Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final last week.
And while her national tennis federation wanted to recognise that achievement financially, Rybakina would rather the money be funnelled back into developing Kazakhstani tennis talent.
“First of all, of course, I would like to help the juniors, most of the money will go to them,” she said according to the Astana Times from a press conference in Kazakhstan. “And the second important point for me: I was at the animal shelter, and I was very much moved by it, so I would like to allocate money for the animal shelter.”
In particular, Rybakina hopes the money will aid players looking to transition from high level junior play into a fully-fledged professional career.
“The transition from juniors to an adult professional career is very difficult,” she explained. “Besides the fact that you have to have a good team around you, not everyone is able to continue at the professional level and only a few people reach the top. I’ve been very lucky in that respect.”
Rybakina is Russian-born but has represented Kazakhstan since 2018.
The Wimbledon champion has stated that she owes her success to that switch of allegiance and the support she has garnered from the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.
She said: “We found each other, and at the end of the day, I am very happy that my journey continues exactly with Kazakhstan. History is happening together thanks to Kazakhstan. Thank you very much for your support.”
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