Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has reportedly turned down the bonus the Kazakh Tennis Federation had offered the 23-year-old for her exploits at SW19, asking them to instead invest the money in promoting grassroots tennis in the country.
Rybakina defeated Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in three sets to claim a historic maiden Grand Slam title for herself and her country. She also became the youngest woman to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish since a 21-year-old Petra Kvitova in 2011. She is now the fourth-youngest active major champion on the WTA Tour, older only than Iga Swiatek, Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu.
A report in Astana Times said the Kazakhstan federation was keen to show its appreciation to her for putting the country on the tennis map by offering Rybakia a bonus.
However, Rybakina, who got nearly two million pounds for her Wimbledon exploits, asked the federation to invest the bonus in grassroots tennis in Kazakhstan instead.
“First of all, of course, I would like to help the juniors, most of it (money) will go to them. And the second important point for me: I was at the shelter, and I was very much moved by it, so I would like to allocate money for the animal shelter,” the report quoted Rybakina, who moved from Russia to Kazakhstan to get more funding, as saying.
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The champion hoped the funding would help more juniors play on the WTA Tour.
“The transition from juniors to an adult professional career is very difficult. Besides the fact that you have to have a good team around you, not everyone is able to continue at the professional level and only a few people reach the top. I’ve been very lucky in that respect,” said Rybakina.