October 2, 2022

Rybakina defeated world number 3 Ons Jabeur in three sets, after a set loss to win 3-6 6-2 6-2.

The 23-year-old, playing in her first Grand Slam final, started slow but gradually found her rhythm and powerful serve to defeat Jabeur.

Rybakina, who was born in Russia but has represented Kazakhstan since 2018, was the youngest female finalist at Wimbledon since 2015, when Garbine Muguruza was 21.

But at the end of a thrilling encounter, Rybakina lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish as she was named Wimbledon champion for the first time.

When interviewed on the pitch afterwards, Rybakina’s first emotion was one of relief.

“I was super nervous before the game, during the game and I’m glad it’s over,” she told Sue Barker on center court.

“Really, I have never felt anything like this. I want to thank the crowd for the support, it was amazing these two weeks.

“But I also want to congratulate Ons for a great game and everything you have achieved. I think you are an inspiration to everyone. You have an amazing game. We don’t have someone like it’s on tour and it’s a joy to play. I’ve raced so much that I don’t think I need to do fitness anymore.

Rybakina added: “It’s true, I didn’t expect to be in the second week of a Grand Slam at Wimbledon. Winning is just amazing. I don’t have the words to say how how happy I am.”

“But I wouldn’t be here without my team of course, so I want to say a big thank you to them. I want to say thank you to my coach, my sponsors, everyone. The most important thing is my parents of course, they are not here, so I’m really sorry. My sister is here and it’s only the third time she’s been on tour to watch, so I’m glad she’s here. Without my parents, I wouldn’t be here at for sure. Thank you very much everyone.”

First steps

It only took a few games of the final for the first clash. Big serve Rybakina, who had dropped just one set in the entire tournament heading into the final, was broken by Jabeur in the third game to take an early lead.

And in Rybakina’s next service game, she was forced to save plenty of break points as her first-set chances looked shaky, but she managed to stave off the energetic Jabeur.

A few games later, after holding serve, Jabeur’s fierce return game and masterful skill opened up three set points for him to give him the opportunity to take the opening set; she willingly took them with both hands.

Jabeur celebrates winning a point against Rybakina.

However, despite looking shaken in the first set, Rybakina started the second frame strong. Behind her own sharp returns, she smashed the lively Jabeur in her opening service game to the shock of all who watched.

Having taken an early lead, Rybakina nearly gave up her lead soon after, having to fend off several break points before finally taking a two-game lead in the set.

And, under blue London skies and bright sunshine, the following matches went down with very little between the two stars.

Rybakina celebrates against Jabeur in the women's singles final at Wimbledon.

Both had to fend off their opponent’s break point opportunities to hold on to their serve as they showed the skills that had blown away their opponents in earlier rounds.

But, Rybakina again smashed Jabeur – who looked so solid in the first set – in the second set, to take a 4-1 lead.

And with the set in play, she rediscovered her usually devastating service skills, having struggled early on, insistently clinching the set to send her to a deciding set.

After a short break for the water and to calm the nerves, the tennis continued at a fever pitch.

Rybakina once again beat the Tunisian to set the tone early on, with the pair trading blows. And in a tight final set, it was the Kazakhstani who grew stronger and stronger, eventually claiming her maiden Grand Slam title with another emphatic service game.

Rybakina celebrates beating Jabeur and winning the women's singles title at Wimbledon.

Not only did she become the first player from her country to win a Grand Slam title, but she also became the youngest Wimbledon champion since 2011.

For Jabeur, she was also looking to engrave her name in the history books, having become the first Arab or African player to achieve a Grand Slam title.

When asked how to inspire young players at home, she joked, “Elena stole my title but that’s okay!”

“I love this tournament so much and I feel really sad, but I try to inspire many generations in my country. I hope they listen.”