Kate put in awkward position as Duchess presents Wimbledon trophy to RUSSIAN…
Russian-born Elena Rybakina defeated Ons Jabeur 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday’s final. Elena Rybakina was born in Moscow but has represented Kazakstan since switching her nationality from Russia in 2018. Russian athletes were banned from Wimbledon as a result of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian athletes resulted in the major losing its ability to give players ranking points.
Tunisian third seed Jabeur was bidding to become the first Arab player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Rybakina is Kazakhstan’s first player to win a major singles trophy.
The 17th seed was born in Moscow and represented Russia until she was 19, when she acquired Kazakh citizenship and decided to represent Kazakhstan instead.
Rybakina had already earned a huge win while representing Russia, playing a home tournament in St Petersburg in 2018 where she saved a match point to upset then-world No 7 Caroline Garcia in the second round.
But later that year she stopped playing for her country of birth and changed her allegiance to Kazakhstan after gaining citizenship, explaining that the country’s federation had given her more financial support, leading her to opt against taking the American college tennis route as a Russian player.
“I think it was very good timing because they were looking for the player,” she said of her decision to represent Kazakhstan.
“I was looking for some help. They believed in me. So I think it was very good combination. We just find each other. They believed in me. They made everything possible for me to keep playing, keep improving.
“I had all the conditions to practise and everything. Of course, it helped a lot. They are still helping and supporting me. I’m really happy that I’m representing Kazakhstan already for long time.”
But the 19-year-old admitted it was tough to tell whether she felt more Russian or Kazakh as she continued: “I mean, it’s tough question. I was born in Russia, but of course I am representing Kazakhstan.
“It’s already a long journey for me. I was playing Olympics, Fed Cup before.
“I got so much help and support. I’m feeling just the support of the people and very happy to represent Kazakhstan because I think I’m also bringing some results, which are very good for the sport in Kazakhstan. Yeah, for me it’s tough question just to say exactly what I feel.”
Kate, who is patron of the All England Club, was wearing a bright Roksanda dress she already sported during her and Prince William’s trip to Jamaica during their Royal Tour of the Caribbean.
The 40-year-old mother-of-three also featured a similar look, then by Dolce & Gabbana, at Wimbledon’s Men’s Single Final in 2018, leaving no doubt yellow is one of her go-to choices.
It is the second time during this year’s Wimbledon Championships that Kate attended the South London tennis premises.
She and the Duke of Cambridge cheered on the British tennis star at Court One as he beat Belgium’s Goffin on Tuesday.
On the road to Norrie’s victory — a contested five-set quarter-finals match — the couple delighted royal fans as they roared at the ninth seed Brit, who secured a 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5 win against unseeded Goffin before Djokovic bet him 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-4.
Kate and William praised Norrie as “brilliant” earlier this week, tweeting a picture of the 26-year-old with the caption: “What a match! Just brilliant @cam_norrie.”
They later added: “What a day of tennis! Fantastic to be back @Wimbledon today and wonderful to see @Cam_Norrie flying the flag in the singles!”
Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton were also among the 11,000 or so fans who watched Norrie reach his first major semi-final having never previously gone past the third round of a major.