‘They All Started Laughing’ – Elena Rybakina’s Coach Receives Flak as Serena Williams’ Ex-teammate Exposes Bizarre Behaviour

Published 04/02/2024, 1:49 PM EDT

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For most, Elena Rybakina’s performance at the Miami Open went better than expected. While the tennis star had high hopes for herself as she made it to the finals in Miami, her defeat against Danielle Collins ended the dream run. However, besides her own errors, it seems like her coach Stefano Vukov has also been making some mistakes that the experts noted.

On her eponymous podcast, famous coach Rennae Stubbs came forward to point out a psychological problem in Vukov’s coaching, mentioning that it might be disturbing for Rybakina. Stubbs pointed out that the Kazakh player’s struggle with her backhand, her signature shot, and constant coaching interruptions might have affected her focus and confidence on the court.

“If I had a coach when I looked over and I missed my best shot. She was struggling with her backhand like that’s her best shot by far. If I look over my coach is gesturing on a regular basis and showing,” Stubbs said, shedding light on how it can be a negative thing for a player on the court.


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Serena Williams’ former coach also pointed out an incident where Vukov’s coaching box was filled with a burst of laughter, as if victory was already assured. The WTA coach criticized such behavior, stating, “They all started laughing in the box because they were like okay this is it now, we’re finally gonna win right and I was like, never in my effing life as a coach am I laughing until the match is over.”

Stubbs highlighted the need for supportive coaching targeted to maintain the comfort of a player. She suggested that instead of repetitive gestures, a coach should offer encouragement. “If I have a problem with my backhand and my coach is gesturing, I’m like, I know I’m missing it. I want to look at my coach and go, ‘You have the best backhand in the world, you got this’,” she added. As Stubbs highlighted the disruptive coaching error, not only applies to any particular entity but extends to all the coaches out there.

Rennae Stubbs backs Aryna Sabalenka by muting a journalist

Being a coach herself, Rennae Stubbs has always stood up for the right demands. Back when the WTA stars complained regarding the playing conditions in Cancun for the WTA Finals in 2023, Aryna Sabalenka also raised her voice. The Belarusian criticized the management for not being disorganized and not feeling respected.


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While a renowned journalist came up to criticize the reactions given by Sabalenka and others, Stubbs took over the stage. “Give me a break. No chance, no chance,” Stubbs wrote, back the Australian Open champion over her raised voice.


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As Serena Williams’ former coach continues to extend her advice and support wherever needed, it extends her role from just a mentor to a strong voice in the world of tennis.


Written by:

Akshay Kapoor


One take at a time

Akshay Kapoor, a tennis writer at EssentiallySports, excels in crafting pieces that set new trends. His analytical skills riding on the back of certification in Digital Marketing help inject in-depth research as he covers the business undertakings of Tennis stars. Akshay’s articles touch the entire tennis spectrum, from iconic figures like Djokovic and emerging talents such as Holger Rune and Coco Gauff.
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Edited by:

Arunima Bhanot