Tennis Prose



French Open Preview Interview I Did With Baige News of Kazakhstan

A reporter named Zarina Kozova of Kazakhstan’s Baige News asked to do an interview with me about Elena Rybakina and the 2023 French Open, here it is…

Zarina Kozova: What you think about Elena Rybakina’s win in Rome? It was surprised? Because many experts said clay – is not the best court surface for her…

Scoop Malinowski: Not surprised Rybakina won on clay, she beat Swiatek on red clay in Italy as a junior in 2017. Big baseline hitters have a history of doing well on clay – remember Robin Soderling beat Nadal at French Open in 2009. Stan Wawrinka won French Open in 2015 by overpowering Djokovic in the final. Rybakina has the qualities and confidence to win on any surface.

Zarina Kozova: What are Elena’s strengths that you would highlight?

Scoop Malinowski: Rybakina is impressive in many ways. I think she’s the heaviest hitter in the WTA and she’s very cool, focused and poised under pressure. She is fearless. Nothing rattles her. She just keeps blasting away. A very scary player for anyone to deal with.

Zarina Kozova: What are Elena’s chances of winning in Paris?

Scoop Malinowski: Right now Rybakina has to be considered one of the top three favorites, with Swiatek, Ostapenko and Sabalenka. There will be many dangerous players but I think Rybakina is leading the pack right now.

Zarina Kozova: Who do you think can win Roland Garros?

Scoop Malinowski: My prediction is Rybakina will win 2023 French Open. Others who also can do it are Swiatek, Sabalenka, Pegula, Jabeur, Sakkari, Ostapenko and of course a big surprise girl can suddenly get hot and shock the world. But Rybakina impresses me the most right now.

Zarina Kozova: Many people compare Rybakina, Swiatek, and Sabalenka with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. What do you think about it?

Scoop Malinowski: Right now Rybakina, Swiatek and Sabalenka are at the top of the WTA but to be compared to Federer, Nadal, Djokovic they need to stay up there and dominate the WTA and Grand Slams for over a decade, not just nine months [smile]. When Rybakina, Sabalenka and Swiatek win a combined total of 64 Grand Slams then we can compare. So with five total Grand Slam titles, they only have 59 more to go [smile].

Zarina Kozova: This is not the first time Elena has beaten Iga. The last time it was in Rome. Why do you think Swiatek can’t beat Elena? After all, she is the first in the world now…

Scoop Malinowski: Swiatek has always struggled with Rybakina, even in juniors. Iga won the first match in 2016 in Canada 62 62 and then in Italy 2017, Ryabina won 16 76 63. Iga won their first professional match in Ostrava 2021 76 62. And Rybakina has won the last three meetings this year at Australian Open, Indian Wells and Rome. Swiatek is unable to match and handle the relentless power of Rybakina. It’s possible Rybakina at her best is playing the greatest tennis in WTA history, a level of pure power and accuracy beyond Serena. It’s possible this version of Rybakina would also blast prime Serena off the court.

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