Tennis Prose



Rybakina: The Tennis Terminator

By Scoop Malinowski

It seems the balance of power is shifting in women’s tennis. I believe we are in a transition period of evolution in the WTA. And Elena Rybakina is raising the bar and taking tennis to a new level.

I have never seen a more destructive, relentless, female destroying machine on a court. Rybakina is like a female Ivan Drago, stoic like a robot — or “the terminator” Arnold Schwarzeneggar film character.

It’s possible Rybakina is playing the greatest, most potent, explosive, high-speed hitting tennis we’ve ever seen. She’s a better more refined technical version of Lindsay Davenport. The ball rockets off her racquet over and over until the opponent falters. Rybakina’s level right now may be better than peak Serena’s at the 2012 Olympics.

Rybakina at her best reminds also of a blend of Juan Martin Del Potro and Marat Safin at his best, pulverizing power shots all over the court in the US Open final of 2000, making Pete Sampras look shockingly helpless.

Adding to the intrigue of Rybakina’s genius, is her totally blank emotional state as she wreaks her havoc. It almost looks like she expects to be dominating like this. She expects to obliterate every one in the world in her domain. The tennis court is her domain. Almost everybody else looks like a sacrifice to the lioness.

When she won Wimbledon last year, her reaction was like someone finishing doing a forehand crosscourt drill. I’ve seen players show more excitement and elation winning a set at the public park. Rybakina is so damn good she made winning Wimbledon look like a practice match!

Who could forget the images of joy of Agassi, Federer, Nadal, Maria, Serena and even Borg when they won their first Wimbledon? Rybakina’s first Grand Slam title win at Wimbledon was the coolest reaction of all time!

No tennis expert predicted this or expected such astounding success from Rybakina a year ago. Iga Swiatek seemed to have everything under control as world no. 1. But now suddenly Iga’s future is a question mark, with Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka excelling.

This year Rybakina has won the most matches in the WTA – 20, including 12 in a row – and she’s in contention to win Miami Open and become only the fifth female player two win the Sunshine Double of Miami and Indian Wells in the same year.

We are witnessing something very special right now in women’s tennis. And Rybakina is leading the sport into a new dimension.

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  • catherine · March 30, 2023 at 6:50 am

    Steffi Graf ? Pretty stoic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 30, 2023 at 7:59 am

    Graf was pretty stoic but she always had big emotional reactions after winning grand slams, remember her jumping for joy, total elation.

  • catherine · March 30, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Sabalenka flopped v Cirstea. She literally did nothing right.
    Sometimes I’m puzzled how a player can fall so far so fast for no obvious reason except a mental blackout.

    Steffi relaxed as she got older. She felt she had emotional room after such a stellar career.

    IMO the WTA is in for a turbulent time. Bianca can’t seem to play more than 2 or 3 tournaments without injury and Raducanu is maturing slowly. Iga won’t dominate as she has in the last couple of years. Rybakina can’t carry the whole tour.

    Maybe Kerber can park the baby and make an appearance.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 30, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Catherine, the tennis deep state does not want a Russian like Rybakina as the face of the sport. They want Osaka Coco or Emma.

  • catherine · March 31, 2023 at 3:45 am

    Rybakina wasn’t so calm in her interaction with her coach in Miami. He’s chattering and instructing her from his safe courtside seat.

    Coach: Blah blah blah… this do that….

    Elena: SHUT UP SHUT UP

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 31, 2023 at 8:25 am

    Catherine, a former ATP player who has coached WTA players, said some of the treat the coach like “a slave.” The ultimate mockery of a coach moment will always be Sam Sumyk lecturing Muguruza, only to be told, “Tell me something I don’t know.”

  • catherine · March 31, 2023 at 11:37 am

    I think I missed something re coaching. I noticed a couple of years ago that on-court had disappeared from the WTA but now all coaches seem to be able to jabber constantly to their players throughout matches and vice versa.

    Is there any ruling on this ? When did the rule change ?

    (In my day communication with coaches was strictly forbidden although of course it happened.)

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 31, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    Catherine, I don’t pay any attention to coaching, it’s just a sideshow, and a cliche festival for the most part. Players don’t need coaching during matches, they know how to play by now. There general word is there are very few worthy coaches, most are freeloaders. Thomas Johansson, Cahill, Tursunov are exceptions.

  • catherine · April 2, 2023 at 6:58 am

    If this link works it’ll tell you all you want to know about Petra Kvitova and some surprising info about other WTA players.

  • Scoop Malinowski · April 2, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Catherine, Kvitova at her best is a fearsome devastating threat but it seems most of the time she only brings her B and C games. Her A game is a nightmare, her A plus game is virtually unstoppable.



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