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June 1, 2023

Elena Rybakina

Paris, France

Press Conference

E. RYBAKINA/L. Noskova

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Another victory and into round three. How was it playing another young, very competitive, very good opponent out there on the clay today?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Again, it was a tough match for me. A lot of ups and downs from my side, but I think she's a great player. She was serving really well.

So, yeah, just happy to get to another round.

THE MODERATOR: English questions, please.

Q. How much did you know about her game coming in, and what, if anything, troubled you most in the match?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, I saw her play last year. Also, I think she was having good results on hard court. Yeah, we never practiced, never played against each other.

But, as I said, she was playing really well, especially the serve, but from my side I wasn't happy so much with the percentage of the serve. A lot of mistakes. I would say I was rushing again.

Yeah, overall, it's just good that I managed to win.

Q. There is some evolution this year about in-game coaching. What can you say about that, if you use coaching during your games, and how do you feel with it?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Yeah, I always thought that coaching is actually good. It helps a lot. Of course, I use it as much as I can to get information from the coach, and sometimes I also like to focus on myself, and I'm not aware of what is going on around. So I think it's great.

Yeah, we used to have coaching also when they would come on the court, and now it's a bit different. But overall, I think it's really good for the game and it's helping a lot.

Q. I am a big fan of the boxer Gennadiy Golovkin, GGG, the ex-world champion boxer, who also was born in Kazakhstan. Can you tell me, have you ever tried boxing or boxing fitness training? Can you tell us how you think boxing and tennis compare? Are there some things that are the same, and are there other things that are different between boxing and tennis? And, finally, how confident are you that you can continue to knock out all of your opponents here at Roland Garros over the next two weeks?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, of course, I know Gennadiy. I never met him, but, yeah, he is great.

And, also, I mean, I never tried boxing, to be honest. Maybe it will be good for me to try. I think it's very reactive sport. Also as tennis, you need to react and think really quick, so maybe I try one day.

Q. Just wondering, I think you made a small change to your service motion this season. Just wondering what was that like to make that change, and how long did it take for you to feel comfortable doing it? And, also, what did you do with your old clothes that you can no longer wear?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Okay, so about the serve, I would say that we're trying to change some small details, and it's not huge change. It's just trying to get more serves with the same motion, to get this power and just the timing, I would say. So it's nonstop work.

Yeah, about the clothes, some are still with me. Yeah, I still didn't think about this.

Q. I think a lot of people sort of look at your game and see it built around this big serve, and you won Wimbledon, of course, so they don't naturally think of you as a clay court player. Do you think of yourself as a clay court player? Can you explain your level of comfort with this surface and your background with it?

ELENA RYBAKINA: I think that, first of all, my first WTA win was on clay, so from that point I thought I actually can play on clay. I think it depends where, the conditions, how is the weather, balls. Even here it's quite different from Rome, the tournament I just won.

I think it's just for me different and longer preparations physically just because you need to slide a lot. Physically the rallies are longer, more patient. But I think that I can play good. Just with experience over the years and matches I can get just better and better.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about your game. You make everything look so easy the way you play. I want to ask you about the work that you put in. Is it a lot just to make it look so easy for us? Can you talk about the work that you put in.

ELENA RYBAKINA: I won't say that it's so easy. And, of course, we did huge work preseason before Australian Open. Now we're constantly working and trying to improve with the team every day. So it's quite busy days, even if it doesn't look like, we are practicing, recovering. There is really every day is busy. Yeah, just nonstop work.

Q. I often hear your coach say, like, telling you to hit to big targets. I'm just wondering, what is the challenge of trying to play high-percentage tennis when you have such big weapons? It must be tempting you want to go for everything.

ELENA RYBAKINA: Yes, it's true because sometimes I feel like, okay, the ball is quite easy, and I can go for it, but at these moments I need more patience. Not every ball, even if it looks like you can really attack and move in, because especially here, the conditions are a bit different. It's not easy to finish the rally. You need to come forward. This is something we're still improving.

Yeah, that's why he is also telling me a lot to go with the big targets because sometimes I can play really heavy and just prepare the point. Yeah, just to be more consistent.

Q. One of your sponsors is Red Bull, and they say Red Bull gives you wings. So how high can you fly here at Roland Garros?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Yeah, hopefully very high. I'm very happy to be with Red Bull. Yeah, maybe today I should have drink a little bit before the match just because I played so early, and it's unusual for the past tournaments I played. It was not easy also to wake up.

But yeah, really happy to be with them.

Q. You mentioned trying to be patient. Is that something that as you were growing up was something you had to learn to be patient on the court, whether it was clay or another kind of surface?

ELENA RYBAKINA: I think so because since I have big shots, I always kind of think that, okay, I can step in, move in on almost every ball, but that's not like this.

Before I actually started working with my coach, I thought that I have a lot of patience, but apparently on the practices I'm still rushing, and I want to do stuff. Like maybe not ready to listen, like the explanation, until the end.

Yeah, I probably just want things to be quick, but this is not the way, unfortunately, in tennis. It requires a lot of patience. So, yeah, on this I still kind of working.

Q. Who first gave you those strokes?


Q. Who first gave you the strokes you've got?


Q. Like your first coach? Who gave you such a clean game?

ELENA RYBAKINA: Well, I think it was developing throughout the years because when I started, it was not really serious, and I was just starting in the group of the kids. I think it was difficult to really focus on every kid since it was many of us.

When I was young, we moved. Also, we lived in other parts of the city, so I was kind of changing coaches. But I think it just developed through the years.

Q. Did you keep in touch with any of the kids you used to play with when you were younger? Did any of them try to become a tennis player, or was it just you?

ELENA RYBAKINA: No, actually some of my friends are still playing, just different tournaments. Some of them went to college. I was lucky to be in the group of kids, juniors, very competitive group, and I was kind of following them.

Also, very good coach since I was young, I would say from 12 until 17, like this period. So, yeah, we're still in touch.

Q. (Off microphone.)

ELENA RYBAKINA: Amina Anshba, she's still playing but ITF tournaments, and yeah, the other ones, they went to college, most of them.

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