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Moscow-born Rybakina, who represents Kazakhstan, wins Wimbledon in year Russians are banned from tournament

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Moscow-born Elena Rybakina, who represents Kazakhstan, has won the Wimbledon women’s singles title in a year that Russians are banned from the tournament.

The 23-year-old beat world No 2 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in three sets 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Rybakina showed some nerves in the first set but came back strong in the second and third to defeat Jabeur, who had been looking to become the first Arab woman and the first African woman to win a Grand Slam.

The All England Club’s imposed a ban on Russian and Belarusian players after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Rybakina was allowed to compete as she switched to represent Kazakhstan four years ago.

Her win is historic because she is the first player to represent Kazakhstan to win a Grand Slam title.

Rybakina made the decision to switch allegiances to receive more funding, and has repeatedly said she is happy to represent her adopted country.

Asked before the final if she still “feels Russian”, Rybakina said: “What does it mean for you to feel? I mean, I’m playing tennis, so for me, I’m enjoying my time here.

Ons Jabeur during the women's singles final against Elena Rybakina
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Ons Jabeur was looking to become the first Arab woman to win a Grand Slam title

“I feel for the players who couldn’t come here, but I’m just enjoying playing here on the biggest stage, enjoying my time and trying to do my best.

“I’m playing already for Kazakhstan for a long time. I’m really happy representing Kazakhstan.”

She has called for the war in Ukraine to “stop as soon as possible”. Asked about her residence, which is reported to be in Moscow, she has said: “I think I’m based on tour because I’m travelling every week.”

The Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box during the women's singles final. Pic: AP
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The Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box during the final. Pic: AP
The Duchess of Cambridge presents the trophy to Elena Rybakina
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The Duchess of Cambridge presents the trophy to Rybakina

The tournament’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players – which stopped world No 1 Daniil Medvedev from participating, among others – was highly controversial.

In response, the women’s and men’s tennis associations, WTA and ATP respectively, took the unprecedented step of not awarding rankings points to any players at the tournament.

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