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Elena Rybakina has moved to put an end to the drama surrounding her eligibility to play for Kazakhstan over birth country Russia at Wimbledon during a press conference upon her return home.
Rybakina stunned the tennis world to win her maiden grand slam trophy at Wimbledon on Saturday, defeating Ons Jabeur in the final.
However Rybakina was plagued with questions about her ties with Russia throughout the tournament, including in her press conference after the final.
The Moscow-born tennis player has represented Kazakhstan since 2018, when she left at the age of 19, and no longer lives in Russia.
Wimbledon had banned Russian players from competing at the All England Club due to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
Rybakina has repeatedly shut down any notion she had ties with Russia throughout her time in the UK.
However, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation appeared to claim Rybakina as a 'product' of their nation after her historic victory.
"It's the Russian school, after all. She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan," Shamil Tarpishchev told sports website Champion at, according to Associated Press.
Rybakina has since returned home to Kazakhstan where she met the president and held a press conference on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old put to bed any notion that she still has ties to Russia and produced her Kazakhstan passport at the press conference.
"The transition from a junior to a professional career is very difficult. A good team is needed," she said to the reporters.
"Not everyone is able to continue at professional level and achieve some successes. Only a small number (can) and in this way I am very lucky.
"So I am of course not really in agreement with that phrasing."
The continued questions surrounding Rybakina angered some fans on social media, with many lashing out over the fact she felt the need to show her passport as evidence.
idiot reporters, media 🤷🏻♂️🤦🏻
— Jason (@jastricks06) July 12, 2022
Those questions about her citizenship almost borders harassment don't you think? Why do you say NYTimes? Did @nytimes @NYTimesPR has made any sort of accusations towards the 2022 @Wimbledon women's singles champion?
— TENNISMEDIA (@luciahoff) July 12, 2022
I think if she wanted the controversy to go away she should simply denounce Russia for the horrific invasion of Ukraine..... but she won't do it and that says everything
— ronald ward (@ronaldw38722845) July 12, 2022
disgusting of the journalists to have to make Rybakina show her Kazakh passport. pic.twitter.com/ZL9PZ5MXXj
— Ishaq (@leshaqa4) July 12, 2022
The journalist who asked Elena Rybakina about Wimbledon's ban on Russian athletes tried to steal her moment. She showed character. pic.twitter.com/A0fHBAIUVq
— Medovukha (@Zzzaikar) July 11, 2022
Rybakina shuts down Russian questions at Wimbledon
Immediately after her Wimbledon victory, Rybakina was forced to shut down questions around the topic.
"I can only say that I'm representing Kazakhstan. I didn't choose where I was born," she said.
"I'm playing for Kazakhstan very, very long time. I represent on the biggest tournaments, Olympics, which was dream come true.
"People believed in me. Kazakhstan supported me so much. Even today I heard so many support. I saw the flags. So I don't know how to answer these questions."
American great John McEnroe said during the final: "I just think it's weird because of this whole thing. I don't mean to get into politics here but she is Russian, right?
"It is sort of strange because of this whole ordeal of not allowing the Russians to play."
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