Marion Bartoli latest to criticise Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov – ‘I just can’t take that any more’
Marion Bartoli has become the latest to hit out at the behaviour of Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov, saying she is basing her opinion on incidents she witnessed herself in the past.
Vukov has coached Rybakina since the 2019 season and under his tutelage she became the first Kazakhstan player to win a Grand Slam when she lifted the Wimbledon trophy last year.
This year they enjoyed a successful run at the Australian Open as the 23-year-old reached her second major final, but lost against Aryna Sabalenka.
However, Vukov’s behaviour made headlines before the showpiece match against Sabalenka as many fans and pundits were unhappy both with his on-court communication and some of his gestures.
The Croatia-born coach defended his actions when he was quizzed about it, saying: “I have to scream out something if she’s off track. People can interpret that how they want but at the end of the day we’re just doing our job.”
Although he was a little more subdued during the final, he was still criticised with tennis commentator and doubles great Pam Shriver tweeting “I hope she finds a coach who speaks and treats her with respect at ALL times”.
Rybakina herself then issued a strong response on Instagram as she defended her coach while Dmitry Tursunov hit back at Shriver and told the American she should apologise to Vukov.
Shriver, though, stuck to her guns and now 2013 Wimbledon champion Bartoli has also come out and expressed her unhappiness with Vukov, saying she witnessed some unsavoury things while she coached Jelena Ostapenko.
“The way Rybakina’s coach is talking to Rybakina on the court is just not something I can accept. I just can’t take that any more,” she told Tennis Majors’ podcast Match Points.
“I sincerely hope for her sake and for her to be able to continue that game that she will be able to find a coach that talks with respect to her no matter what the result is because she is really trying her hardest on the court.
“To see someone going hard at her in such a negative way – and I’ve seen that in the past myself, much more at events when I was with Jelena Ostapenko when she was playing those events as well, in some practice courts when there is no cameras – he is behaving in some ways I can’t accept.”
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