Ex-Slam semifinalist reveals her fear for Elena Rybakina: ‘Hope that doesn’t happen’


2014 French Open semifinalist Andrea Petkovic fears 24-year-old Elena Rybakina may get football superstar Harry Kane’s reputation of “not delivering when it matters the most” if some things keep repeating. 

Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, started her 2024 season by winning the Brisbane International and making the Adelaide International quarterfinal before shockingly losing to Anna Blinkova in the Australian Open second round. When Rybakina returned to action during this month’s Middle East swing, she won a WTA 500 tournament in Abu Dhabi – finished as runner-up to Iga Swiatek in the final of a WTA 1000 tournament in Doha – before being forced to withdraw from her Dubai quarterfinal match due to a gastrointestinal issue. 

Addressing Rybakina’s results and the way her campaign at a WTA 1000 tournament in Dubai ended, Petkovic acknowledged that the Kazakh has had some great results this year. But Petkovic also underlined that Rybakina has to schedule her tournaments the way that it allows her to be at her very best in the biggest tournaments because she is a top player and people mostly care about how she does on the biggest stage. 

“That’s bad luck. That’s kind of bad luck but still it’s this theme of playing so well in the tournaments that lead up to the important [tournament],” Petkovic said on the Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport – Christopher Pike


Petkovic’s concern for Rybakina: I’m just afraid of the Harry Kane situation

Over the last decade, Kane – who switched from Tottenham Hotspur FC to FC Bayern Munich in the summer – has been widely considered one of the best strikers in football over the last decade. But there is also one negative label placed on Kane as some think the 30-year-old striker just can’t get the job done in the biggest games. 

“I’m just afraid of the Harry Kane situation. I said it to you before, Harry Kane, amazing footballer, I love him so much. He scores so many goals and he’s at Bayern Munich now in Germany so that’s why I know this well but he did similar things in England. He’s such a great scorer and then it comes to an important game and he just can’t find the goal and he’s missing big chances and now he’s getting that reputation,” Petkovic said. 

“He’s not that young anymore and he’s gotten a reputation, in England and beyond, that he can’t score in big games. And that’s not exactly true, of course he has scored in big games but that’s just the reputation he has now. And I hope that doesn’t happen for Rybakina,” Petkovic said.

Elena Rybakina

Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport – Christopher Pike


In her next tournament, Rybakina will defend her title at a WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, which she won last year after beating Aryna Sabalenka in the final.

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