Elena Rybakina is a Kazakhstani professional tennis player born in Russia on June 17, 1999, who won two singles titles in the WTA tournament. At the age of five, her father, who played various sports, took her to the tennis court, and the year after, she switched from gymnastics and Ice-skating to tennis. In 2016, Rybakina began her professional career. From 2013 to 2018, she represented Russia, but then she changed her citizenship to represent Kazakhstan instead. Elena Rybakina is also a former junior world No. 3 player. She reached the semifinals of the 2017 Australian Open and Roland Garros Junior Singles Tournament. She is also a quarterfinalist of the 2017 US Open Junior Singles Tournament. Her highest career singles ranking in the world No. 17 at the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). She won her first WTA title in Bucharest, Romania, in July 2019 at the age of 20, breaking the top 20 for the first time in February 2020. The same year, Elena Rybakina recorded her first victory, meeting a top 5 competitor – Karolina Pliskova.
Furthermore, Rybakina has reached seven finals on the WTA Tour, winning two titles, including one at the Premier level. She began to have significant results relatively late in her junior career at the age of 17, managing to reach two junior Grand Slam semifinals and winning a Grade-A title in 2017 at the Trofeo Bonfiglio in Italy. Rybakina’s first consistent success on the WTA Tour came in the middle of 2019 and was crowned by her first WTA title at the Bucharest Open in Romania, as well as her top 100 debuts. She accomplished her breakthrough in the 2020 season, during which she was leading the WTA Tour after reaching five finals, including four finals in her first five events of the year. Her biggest win was her massive victory at the 2021 French Open, where she stunned the three-time Roland Garros champion Serena Williams in two straight sets, 6-3, 7-5 in the fourth round of the tournament to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Regarding Rybakina’s playing style, she is an aggressive baseline player who aims to finish points quickly. Her high-risk game style leads to an accumulation of both unforced errors and winners. She is a strong player and can generate effortless power, both on her serve and groundstrokes. Her backhand, as well as her forehand, are both hit flat, with depth and speed, which allows her to generate excellent power with both her groundstrokes and hit winners with both shots. Her powerful serve can reach 119 mph (192 km/h) and allows her to produce a large number of aces. She led the WTA Tour in the ace count in 2020, after serving 192 aces throughout the year. Mainly due to her doubles experience, she aims to finish points at the net and is a capable volley player. Rybakina also has excellent movement given her height, although this area is one of the few weak areas in her repertoire. A WTA coach, Adriano Albanesi, described her as “a right-handed Petra Kvitová” who was a famous and heavy-hitting player from the Chech Republic. Rybakina is a confident player, and she plays with a very calm attitude, believing she can defeat any opponent she faces. Early in her WTA career, she excelled in three-set matches, winning 13 out of 14 from September 2019 through February 2020.