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Rybakina found herself at the center of a scandal at Roland Garros! What angered the Wimbledon champion?

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 11:19:04

On Tuesday, May 28, 2022 Wimbledon champion, world number four and representative of Kazakhstan, Elena Rybakina, got off to a good start in the second Grand Slam tournament of this season. In the first round match at Roland Garros 2024, Elena won a crushing victory over Belgian athlete Gretje Minnen. It took 24-year-old Rybakina just 73 minutes to reach the second round, losing only five games in total: 6:2, 6:3.

The main moral test awaited Elena after the end of the match, when she went to the obligatory communication with journalists. During a press conference in English, one of the best tennis players on the planet began to lose patience, reacting nervously to questions from the media, after which she entered into a small conflict with them. First, let’s look at the extended version of Elena’s press conference.

Journalist: How do you feel physically compared to last year, when you had to withdraw from the tournament after the second match? Has today’s cold, wet weather affected your game plans?

Rybakina: No, it had no effect. I know how to adapt to different conditions. From a physical point of view, of course, I feel much better than last year. I had Covid, so of course I’m much stronger now.

After the first set of questions, Rybakina began to address the moderator of the press conference, accompanying her dissatisfied look with the following phrase: “The questions are still the same, so I don’t know what to say anymore.”

The moderator did not interfere with what was happening (and what he could do here), so Rybakina took the initiative into her own hands and several times directly hinted to the journalists that they were asking questions that she was tired of.

Journalist: This was his first game after Madrid. There you said that you were a little tired of these long tournaments. I know you didn’t want to miss Rome, but did doing so help you? Do you still think there is a danger of feeling tired due to a busier schedule?

Rybakina: Well, sometimes it’s exhausting, but now I’m happy to be back and continue playing. My goal is to win titles. This is what I want. This is what I strive for.

Journalist: You just said that you were able to cope well with the conditions on the court. How were they different? Was the court simply slower? What is it like to play with the roof closed?

Rybakina: Probably the same as in previous years.

Journalist: You’ve reached the quarterfinals here, you’ve already won a Slam title, so you know what it’s like. What do you think is the difference between winning the title and reaching the final at Roland Garros? What do you need to do to win this title?

Rybakina: It’s pretty simple. You have to work hard, do all the things you wouldn’t normally want to do. Simple question, simple answer. So guys, anything else?

Elena Rybakina

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Journalist: Am I right in thinking this is your first time using a Yonex kit?

Rybakina: No, last year I was also at Yonex.

Journalist: What made you choose these colors and what is the general process of choosing clothes?

Rybakina: These colors? I didn’t choose them. The brand made the decision for me. So do you have more questions?

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There were no further questions for Elena, but an immediate reaction to her behavior followed. One of the most respected tennis journalists and author of a biography of the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, Ben Rothenberg, dedicated a series of tweets to Rybakina:

“Honestly, a tennis player who complains about not getting prime court seats and not getting enough media attention, and then gets so blatant in front of the press when people are just trying to make her interesting… It’s just a fundamental ignorance of how to be successful. in the entertainment industry. And this is an established model. She will not succeed in this part of the job without making any effort to complete it,” Rothenberg wrote.

Rotenberg’s statement gave rise to a great debate, during which the opinions of ordinary people were divided. In particular, it was pointed out to Ben that Elena does not work in the entertainment industry and should not be interesting when communicating with journalists, because her life’s work is simply playing tennis, but the American did not agree with that sentiment.

“Tennis is as much a part of the entertainment industry as any other spectator sport. Ultimately, athletes make money not because they win, but because people are willing to pay to watch their games,” Rotenberg concluded.

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Finally, on The Tennis Letter account, where the video fragment of the Kazakh representative’s press conference was originally published, a final post appeared with indirect support for Elena.

“Elena Rybakina does not need to pretend to be happy in front of the press in order to do her job well: play tennis. If she is bored of answering repeated questions in the press, there is nothing wrong with her saying so. “If an athlete doesn’t want to do this, it’s completely normal,” the post said.

For my part, I would like to point out that, in principle, every point of view expressed in this debate has the right to life. If Rybakina, at the age of 24, was tired of answering the same questions (and for the most part, the questions at press conferences are repeated week after week), then she has every right. No one can force a professional athlete to answer in an interesting and detailed way if he believes that he does not need it to build a successful career.

But in this case, the tennis player herself should not file complaints after being sent to secondary courts and due to lack of attention to herself. That will be fair. Everything in the tennis industry is interconnected and pitting the best tennis journalists against you is not the best way to promote your brand. The conventional Roger Federer was loved by everyone not only for his victories in tennis, but also for his behavior on and off the court.

Elena will have a long journey ahead of her this year in Paris and it will be very interesting to see how the representative of Kazakhstan will behave at press conferences in the future. Maybe after the end of the first round match she simply had a headache and just wasn’t in the mood. Or now this is her conscious line of behavior.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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