Elena Rybakina - Australian Open 2023

Wimbledon champion’s scheduling frustration continues in Australia

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina is into the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time but the main topic of conversation has been her court scheduling.

Rybakina played her first match, on Monday, against Elisabetta Cocciaretto on court 13. This is one of the smaller outside courts, and fans suggested that she had been disrespected with less accomplished players on the bigger courts.

The first, and only, Kazakhstani Grand Slam champion did not seem to be too bothered by the court she was playing on, however did appear to make a sly dig at the tournament schedulers.

“I honestly don’t care because it wasn’t easy after Wimbledon with the scheduling, of course, and everything,” she said. “But in the end I’m here to play tennis. I’m feeling good. So I’m super happy to get through to another match. Doesn’t matter which court I’m going to play.”

“I guess it’s a motivation to win even more. Maybe next time they’re going to put my first match somewhere else, not the Court 13 (smiling).”

Although, she is taking a more carefree approach to the topic in Australia, Rybakina was more outspoken about how she felt at the US Open, after being put on court four with two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza.

“It’s (a) pity,” she said. “I feel like actually I’m not the Wimbledon champion. “It takes time to realise, but when you’re going from tournament to tournament, this is how you feel in the end of the day.”

“For example, in one tournament I go and play against the greatest champion, (Garbine) Muguruza, and we play on Court No. 4. This is kind of like question for me. I don’t think that this is fair. Yeah, just my opinion.”

The court scheduling is perhaps not the only way Rybakina may feel hard done to, as Wimbledon champion. The 23-year-old did not receive the 2000 ranking points that she would have, had ranking points not been taken away from the grass major.

Rybakina therefore was unable to enter the top-10 for the first time, nor qualify for the WTA finals, two things that would have happened had she received those points.

The good news for Rybakina is that she is likely to be on the big stage for her fourth round match with No.1, Iga Swiatek. It is set to be a blockbuster contest with the two sharing the last three Grand Slam titles between them.

“For sure she’s very strong physically and mentally,” Rybakina said about the Pole, “I think that if I’m going to play my game, aggressive, I’m going to be solid from the beginning till the end, I have all the chances. I’m going to try to do my best.”

“To be honest, it doesn’t matter which round I play (her) because I think Iga is a great player. No matter what, the goal is to beat the top players. If it’s first, second round, the goal is to improve throughout the year. The year is actually long. I think that it’s going to be tough match. Hopefully it’s going to go my way.

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.