The fifth seed from Belarus defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina
Aryna Sabalenka scripted a brilliant comeback against the reigning champion of Wimbledon, Elena Rybakina, at the Australian Open final on Saturday.
Falling to a tough start at the beginning of the match, Sabalenka returned a series of solid returns, constituting a 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the remarkable turnaround at Melbourne park.
Upon receiving her award, the 24-year-old tennis superstar praised her team for her victory.
“Thank you for an amazing atmosphere. And of course my team, the craziest team on tour I would say. We’ve been through a lot of downs last year, we worked so hard. You guys deserve this trophy, it’s more about you than me. I love you guys,” Sabalenka said.
“I hope next year I come back stronger and I’ll show you even better tennis,” the Belarusian star added.
Sabalenka was competing in her first grand slam final after reaching the final in Melbourne.
Rybakina was ranked 25th in the world coming into this tournament and complimented the performance of Sabalenka.
“Hopefully, we are going to have many more battles,” Rybakina told Sabalenka during the trophy presentation.
“It was a good year for me and hopefully next year I am going to have the same result and (do) even better.”
Amid the war in Ukraine, both Sabalenka and Rybakina competed as neutrals due to the condition set by Tennis Australia.
Due to the rule enforced, Sabalenka’s Belarusian flags were not allowed inside the venue, and even the winner’s trophy didn’t mention the tennis player’s nationality.
“I think everyone still knows that I’m Belarusian player. That’s it,” she told reporters after the match.