Moscow native Alena Rybakina, representing Kazakhstan, won Wimbledon in a tournament where Russians are banned.

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

Rybakina showed nerves in the first set but came back strongly in the second and third to defeat Jaber, who was aiming to become the first Arab woman and the first African woman to win a Grand Slam.

The All England Club’s banned Russian and Belarusian players following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But Rybakina was allowed to participate, because four years ago she moved to play for Kazakhstan.

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

Ons Jaber was aiming to become the first Arab woman to win a Grand Slam

Rybakina made the decision to switch allegiances in order to receive more funding and has repeatedly stated that she is happy to represent her adopted country.

When asked before the finals whether she still feels “Russian”, Rybakina answered: “What does it mean to you to feel yourself? I mean, I play tennis, so I enjoy spending time here.”

“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 have been playing for Kazakhstan for a long time. I am very happy to play for Kazakhstan.”

She called to “stop the war in Ukraine as soon as possible.” When asked about her residence, which is reported to be in Moscow, she replied: “I think I’m based on the tour because I go every week.”

The Duchess of Cambridge in the royal box during the women's singles final.  Photo: AP
The Duchess of Cambridge in the Royal Box during the final. Photo: AP

The tournament’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players – which stopped the participation of, among others, the world number one Daniil Medvedev – was very controversial.

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

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