Wimbledon champion donates £2m prize money in heartwarming gesture

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Newly-crowned Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has revealed that her planned bonus from the Kazakh Tennis Federation will be donated to the country’s junior tennis programme after her maiden Grand Slam triumph. Rybakina managed to beat Ons Jabeur in three sets in last weekend’s final at the All England Club to get her hands on the prestigious trophy for the very first time.

She also defeated Simona Halep on her way to the grand prize in SW19, which also saw her awarded a lucrative winning sum of £2million as well as an extra bonus from Kazakhstan’s governing body. Rybakina has already underlined her desire to use the latter payment to help those in need, with the majority set to go towards her country’s junior programme and the rest to animal charities in the wake of her recent visit to a shelter.

“First of all, of course, I would like to help the juniors, most of it will go to them,” she told the Astana Times when quizzed on what she will be spending her prize money on.

“And the second important point for me, I was at the shelter, and I was very much moved by it, so I would like to allocate money for the animal shelter.”

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Rybakina has first-hand experience of making the jump from the junior ranks to a professional level and counts herself lucky to have been able to bridge the gap with relative ease. She reached two junior Grand Slam semi-finals before moving onto the Pro Tour and is now looking to use her status to aid others in their own attempts to adapt to the senior reaches of the game.

“The transition from juniors to an adult professional career is very difficult,” she added. “Besides the fact that you have to have a good team around you, not everyone is able to continue at the professional level and only a few people reach the top. I’ve been very lucky in that respect.”

Meanwhile, some have argued that Rybakina’s recent Wimbledon triumph was also a win for Russia, who were banned from competing at the All England Club amid their ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The Moscow-born player switched allegiances to Kazakhstan four years ago and has since insisted that she considers herself a product of the country in spite of her Russian origins.

“At that moment, which was almost five years ago, it so happened that I had an acute question: what to do next? I was about 17-18 years old,” she explained.

“I had to decide whether I would try to play and stay in professional sports or go studying. We found each other, and at the end of the day, I am very happy that my journey continues exactly with Kazakhstan.

“History is happening together thanks to Kazakhstan. Thank you very much for your support.”


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