Who is Elena Rybakina’s coach, Stefano Vukov? The former Croatian player was under the spotlight in the Australian Open semi-final and fans want to know more about him ahead of the final
The 2023 Australian Open women’s final takes place on Saturday (28 January), with 22nd seed Elena Rybakina taking on 5th Aryna Sabalenka.
Russian-born Kazakhstani player Rybakina hhost has beaten a host of top players en route to the final. She defeated 2022 finalist Danielle Collins in the third round, World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the fourth found, former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the semis.
Rybakina is the current Kazakhstani female No. 1 player in singles, and has a career-high ranking of world No. 12. She is also the reigning Wimbledon champion.
Who is Elena Rybakina’s coach, Stefano Vukov?
At an early age Elena moved from the Dynamo Sports Club to the Spartak Tennis Club and worked with several coaches. She trained with former top-10 player Andrey Chesnokov and former top-100 player Evgenia Kulikovskaya.
Andrey Chesnokov worked with her until 2019. Elena Rybakina’s coach then became Stefano Vukov, who still works with her today.
Stefano Yukov is a former Croatian tennis player who played in various ITF Men’s World Tennis events as well as the ITF Futures Tour. He was born on 27 March 1987 and reached a career-high singles ranking of world no.1122.
Stefano has also won 12 tennis tournaments, including professional ITF, ATP, and Davis Cup victories in his career. Under his tutelage Elena has become one of the top women’s players in the sport. He has taken her game to the next level and enabled her to compete in Grand Slams against the very best.
Vukov speaks out after semi-final incident
Vukov was criticised during Elena’s semi-final match for being too aggressive with his mid-match coaching, which is now legal.
Rybakina’s coach was animated from the side-lines and seemed to have some choice words for his players. Former player turned Eurosport commentator Laura Robson said after the match: “I don’t know how she deals with the coach, he seems to be so negative on the side. It’s clearly their way of communicating and obviously it worked because she was able to make some changes throughout the match.”
According to Yahoo Sports!, the Tennis Podcast Twitter account commented: “I could very, very happily go for the rest of my life without seeing another shot of Elena Rybakina’s coach yelling at her. If any broadcast directors are listening/interested.”
However, Vukov has since spoken out, telling Fox Sports Australia: “It’s easy to just take clips and then make something controversial. This is part of our sport, it’s normal.
“There’s 10,000 people out there, to get the attention of the player is definitely not easy and people don’t understand that. 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. Coaching is now allowed and she’s using it in the best possible way.”
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