Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka may have become serious rivals on the tennis court, but they also have a great relationship.
The duo met in the final of Indian Wells on Sunday night, replaying the thrilling Australian Open final just two months ago.
After Rybakina was snubbed of the Grand Slam title in Melbourne, she made sure she avenged her loss in California.
But Sabalenka is determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and she made Rybakina and the crowd well aware of this during the post-match interviews.
Sabalenka playfully shuts down Rybakina
After a seriously tense first set, reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina secured a hard-fought 7-6, 6-4 win over her opponent at Indian Wells.
During the trophy ceremony, the Kazakhstani star applauded Sabalenka’s efforts and thanked her for the match, as well as the others they have featured in together in the past.
The two have played each other five times during their careers. Their first clash was back in 2019 at the Wuhan Open, followed by two meetings in 2021 at the Abu Dhabi Open and Wimbledon.
Before Indian Wells, the women met in the Australian Open final, which resulted in Sabalenka winning her first Grand Slam title.
Every match apart from the latest in California went down to a deciding set — won by Sabalenka — showcasing how competitive these two are when they face each other.
Video: Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka enjoy their post-match interview together
“It’s actually the first time it went my way, so we’ll see. Hopefully we’re going to play many more finals,” Rybakina said.
Sabalenka then interjected: “I will make sure it was the last one.”
The two laughed together and the crowd joined in, enjoying their camaraderie.
Where are Rybakina and Sabalenka ranked?
Thanks to her triumph at Indian Wells, Rybakina has reached a career high WTA ranking position.
The 23-year-old has jumped up three places into seventh, ahead of Daria Kasatkina, Belinga Bencic, and Maria Sakkari. She currently has a total of 3,720 points.
Meanwhile, Sabalenka continues to close in on the unstoppable Iga Świątek.
Although there may still be 3,235 points between the world number one and two, the gap has never been smaller.
Sabalenka rose from fifth to second after her Australian Open triumph and right now, is the most likely to catch up to Świątek and put pressure on the number one spot.