A journalist comparing Elena Rybakina to the legendary Serena Williams has received harsh criticism from a section of the tennis fandom.
Rybakina shot to fame last year when she beat Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final to lift her maiden Grand Slam trophy. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old defeated Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets (6-2, 6-4) to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time in her career.
Rybakina is just two matches away from a second Major trophy. Out of her five matches so far in this edition, the Kazakh has won four in straight sets, ousting players like last year's runner-up Danielle Collins and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek along the way.
American journalist Christopher Clarey recently took to social media to praise Rybakina and compare her to 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams in terms of their skill-sets.
"What makes Rybakina so dangerous - so Williamsesque -- is that she can not only overwhelm with serving and flat baseline power. She can run," Clarey wrote.
A number of fans were unhappy with the comparison, given that Rybakina has won only one Major so far and Williams has put tennis on the map with her unparalleled contributions.
"Serena really made 23 GS over 2 decades look so easy that every other day it’s someone no where near her talent being compared to her after a lil upset. No one on the tour has the draw or skillset that that GOAT possesses so NEXT," a fan tweeted.
"I am so tired of you all calling every single Grand Slam winner/potential winner Serena's daughter/ Wlliamsesque. They are not one time or two time GS winners. Have some respect," a user wrote.
"The only thing that Serena Williams and Elena Rybakina have in common is that they play tennis," another tweet read.
Here are a few more reactions:
Elena Rybakina to face Victoria Azarenka in Australian Open 2023 SF
Elena Rybakina will lock horns with two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open on Thursday, January 26. The Kazakh beat Azarenka in straight sets at last year's Indian Wells tournament, which is their only tour-level meeting so far.
After reaching the last four, Rybakina stated that she was using her experience from winning the 2022 Wimbledon Championships and was focused only on her next match instead of thinking about winning the title.
"Of course, I got all the experience at Wimbledon, and it's helping me now this time here in Australia and I know what to expect," Rybakina told the media.
"Feeling good on the court and just really enjoying every match I'm playing here. In the beginning of the tournament, it feels like, 'Oh, it's such a long tournament', of course, if you keep on winning. Now it seems already close. It's still I'm trying to focus just on one match."