Amidst growing concerns about Elena Rybakina and her coach Stefano Vukov, tennis journalist recalls the time Alexander Bublik came to her defense
Sportswriter Tumaini Carayol has joined many other pundits in calling out Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov for his unprofessional behavior with the player, especially at the 2023 Australian Open.
Vukov has been working with the 23-year-old Kazakh since 2019. Under his guidance, Rybakina won her first Grand Slam title – the 2022 Wimbledon Championships – and broke into the top 10 of the WTA rankings after reaching the final of the recently concluded. Australian Open.
However, the coach has been slammed by pundits and fans alleging he doesn’t treat the soft-spoken player well. Vukov was seen yelling at Rybakina during her semi-finals and finals in Melbourne, prompting former player Pam Shriver to appeal to the reigning Wimbledon champion to change coaches.
Speaking to journalist Ben Rothenberg on a podcast, Carayol urged Vukov to calm down and stop being negative with the player.
“He’s extremely lively and intense, screaming, putting his head in his hands, he’s very loud and very negative,” Carayol said. “It’s a great contrast between her [Elena Rybakina], given how quiet and reserved she is. At a bare minimum, it really should be for Vukov to think about how you talk to your student. You can be energetic and lively without being so negative.”
Carayol recalled how Alexander Bublik asked Vukov not to put pressure on Rybakina when the two players were training together.
“It was at Eastbourne when Rybakina was training with Bublik and after hitting with him she started to return her serves. It wasn’t easy, she returned a few. But after every serve you have saw Vukov sprinting towards the baseline, picking up his racquet and showing her how to get back in. She was really starting to get pissed off and pissed off.” “In the end, Bublik said, ‘Why don’t you do my favors’ to Vukov. He then served him five aces and said jokingly, ‘Leave the girl alone. Don’t pressure him.” “It’s not something I can accept” – Marion Bartoli on Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov Elena Rybakina in action during the Australian Open 2023.
After Pam Shriver, 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli also felt that Elena Rybakina should show her coach Stefano Vukov the door and find a coach who shows her respect.
Speaking on an episode of the Match Points podcast, Bartoli said:
“The way Rybakina’s coach talks to Rybakina on the pitch is just not something I can accept. I can’t take it anymore. I sincerely hope for her and for her to continue this game that she will be able to find a coach who speaks with respect for her, whatever the outcome, because she really does give her best on the pitch.”