Elena Rybakina feels like she’s ‘not the Wimbledon champion,’ says life as champion ‘not the greatest’ life.
By Elena Rybakina
NEW YORK – She is a 23-year-old American teenager who doesn’t even remember when the year was last her body stopped competing as a champion.
What she remembers is the after-math of winning her first major at the U.S. Open.
“Honestly, it was just amazing. Like, so many people said that I was invincible. And I was so happy for them to say that,” she said.
“My mother gave me a very cute pink sweater. She had made it for me. She took one look at it and then she just left it alone.”
It was a few months before the U.S. Open, in May, that she won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open. It was a title that started a new chapter in her life.
In the U.S., she became the first teenage winner of a women’s singles championship since Billie Jean King, in 1977. She became the youngest-ever champion of the year since the Open era started. And she did it at Madison Square Garden, the same place where Serena Williams won her career Grand Slam, in 2006.
But now Rybakina is still in the process of discovering just why it all happened.
‘It was probably the most amazing experience in my entire life’
“It was probably the most amazing experience in my entire life,” she said.
And she isn’t alone in believing it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“I remember talking about it, and there have been so many stories out there,” said Rybakina’s coach, Masha Zvereva, who was at the women’s singles final.
It was a moment with historic implications, she added.
“She went out and fought, and it became a Cinderella story and a once-in-a-lifetime story,” Zvereva said. “And I guess it becomes another Cinderella story if you are the first or youngest to win a Grand Slam or in any other major tournament. Because that was a time when there was nobody.”
Rybakina is only