Rlena Rybakina (born 17 June 1999) is a Russian-born Kazakhstani professional tennis player.
The video, originally posted on the WTA Instagram page, is about 4 minutes long and shows Rybakina starting out by doing some movement exercises. Her coach outlines simple tips that will better her movement in anticipation of the ball.
Her coaches instructions were clear: “If the ball is short move forward if it’s deep, move back. “These tennis fundamentals are known even to amateurs but their importance is significant at the highest of levels.
They proceeded to spend the rest of the practice working on her groundstrokes which are her strongest suit. The practice took place at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens.
Training and School
“I think I improved my ranking due to different approach to the trainings,” Rybakina told wtatennis.com. “I’m focusing on tennis much more now, and I learned a lot of new things, but I’m still learning.
“My coach helps me a lot. We played already a lot of tournaments together, and we work on tactics. We improved my technique, and now we are working more on the details — but not only on the court.”
“School was a priority for me,” she said, and the 6-foot, right-hander turned towards tennis seriously after finishing her studies, “training more professionally at 17, 18.”
WTA Insider sat down with Rybakina in Melbourne to discuss her family’s difficult decision to allow her to pursue a career in pro tennis and the secret to her success over the last year.
WTA Insider: How did you first start playing tennis?
Rybakina: My dad brought me to the tennis court at six years old. Before, I was doing gymnastics and ice skating with my sister. Then because of my height they said that I cannot be a professional. The group was split. One was going professional, another just for fun.
My dad was like, okay, just try tennis because he loves tennis. He actually tried to play when he was 20. So, yes, I started to play tennis like this. He brought me to the tennis.
WTA Insider: What did you enjoy about tennis?
Rybakina: I love tennis. It was always a game for me. Even now, I don’t think it’s a job. It was always a game and if I cannot do something I like to improve it, to fix it. I love everything in tennis.
WTA Insider: What has been the key to your improvement over the last 12 months?
Rybakina: Last year I started to focus on tennis much more because before I was still in school. It was not easy for me because I couldn’t skip school. I didn’t have a coach who could travel with me.
So now I’m focusing for the last year only on tennis and I have a great coach. He’s helping me a lot. We started working in February and we improved a lot of things. With his help, it’s working.
WTA Insider: So what do you do when you’re not playing tennis?
Rybakina: I love animals. I have a dog, a beagle named Mulia. I like to spend my time with friends for sure when I’m at home.
But I can’t say that I have hobbies. I don’t even have time for this because before I was going to school. So it was for me it was school and practice. But it wasn’t so bad for me. For example, practice was not individual training. It was always in a group so it was fun.
So now if I have free time, I want to always spend the time with my friends and family because last year I was not at home for such a long time. It was always like five days, three days, and then I have to go to the tournaments. It’s a big change for me because before I didn’t play so many tournaments and I always had time to go home and I was practicing at home.