RUSSIA have claimed “we won Wimbledon” after Moscow-born Elena Rybakina’s controversial victory.
The 23-year-old came from behind to beat Ons Jabeur at the All England Club this afternoon.
Elena Rybakina kept her composure as the first Kazakhstani to win Wimbledon
But there was plenty of irony after the 3-6 6-2 6-2 victory.
That is because the Duchess of Cambridge handed over the trophy to a player who was born and raised in Russia.
Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from this summer’s tournament following the invasion of Ukraine.
Part of the decision – which led to the ATP and WTA stripping Wimbledon of their ranking points this year – was to prevent Vladimir Putin using a Russian victory and photos lifting the trophy as propaganda.
Rybakina – who is understood to still live in Moscow along with her parents – represented Russia until 2018 but switched allegiances to play under the Kazakhstani flag and in turn accepted their funding.
But the president of the Russian Tennis Federation shamelessly tried to suggest her victory was a victory for Russia.
Shamil Tarpishchev told RIA Novosti: “It’s very nice that we won Wimbledon.”
Straight-talking McEnroe refused to hide away from the awkward situation between the future queen and a Russia-born Wimbledon champion, who pockets £2million in prize money.
He said on BBC TV: “I don’t mean to get into politics but she’s Russian.
“Her parents live in Moscow.”
Rybakina refused to be drawn on whether Russia would politicise her sensational run – and repeatedly insists she is playing for Kazakhstan.
The No17 seed – who only dropped two sets throughout the run – said: “I don’t know.
“I’ve been playing for Kazakhstan for a very, very long time, representing them at the biggest tournaments, at the Olympics, which was a dream come true.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I mean, there’s always some news, but I cannot do anything about this.
“From my side, I can only say that I’m representing Kazakhstan.
“I didn’t choose where I was born. People believed in me.
“Kazakhstan supported me so much. Even today I heard so much support. I saw the flags. So I don’t know how to answer these questions.”
Rybakina instead continually thanked Kazakhstan’s own tennis federation’s chief for his support as she became the first player, male or female, to win a tennis Grand Slam for the country.
She added: “It’s just unbelievable. I’m super happy.
“I appreciate Mr. Bulat Utemuratov. He came to watch and support me from the semis.
“He was always on the phone through the weeks, through the matches, supporting me. So I’m really, really grateful for everything.
“I mean, it’s just history. It’s tough to believe, to be honest.”
The president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpishchev, left tried to claim the win for his country