STUTTGART — Elena Rybakina is in no rush to celebrate her prize for winning the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Along with the $123,480 in prize money for winning her third WTA 500 of the season, the World No.4 earned the chance to customize the full loadout of her Porsche.

It’s one of the most unique and soughtafter prizes on the Hologic WTA Tour. The champion earns the right to drive the signature car down onto the court at the Porsche Arena as part of the ceremony. But after Rybakina rolled through a 69-minute win over Marta Kostyuk to take the title, it was Porsche CEO Oliver Blume who had to serve as her chauffeur.

As it turns out, the 24-year-old Wimbledon champion hasn’t had the time to get her driver’s license.

“I wanted it from a young age when I was 17,” Rybakina told WTA Insider. “We have a lot of places we go, especially in America, where you want to take a car and go by yourself.

“It’s really needed at Indian Wells. You don’t want to be dependent on someone. You want to take the car and go somewhere alone for a bit. So I think it’s a good thing to have and it’s definitely something I want to do.”

Of course, Rybakina is a little bit busy at the moment. She leaves Stuttgart as the season leader in titles (3), finals (5) and WTA match-wins (26). After holding off two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek in the semifinals, she’s now the only player on tour to have beaten the World No.1 and No.2 this season.

“I’m happy with all these statistics,” Rybakina said. “The most that I’m proud about is that I can play well on all the surfaces. That’s the most important thing. As a top player, that is actually the difference.

“I would say clay is not my preferred surface because it is slower, but at the end of the day, I’m playing really well on all of them.”

Here’s more from the past week:

Honor Roll

Marta Kostyuk: The Ukrainian had another stellar week in what is turning out to be her career-best season. After making the San Diego final and the Indian Wells semifinals in her past two events, the 21-year-old Kostyuk stormed into another final in Stuttgart, edging closer to a Top 20 debut.

Kostyuk started her career 0-14 against Top 10 players, but she has now won seven of her past 11. This week, she beat No.7 Zheng Qinwen, No.3 Coco Gauff and No.8 Marketa Vondrousova in succession to make the final before her run ended against Rybakina.

“Every morning, I didn’t know what to expect from myself on the court today,” Kostyuk said at the end of her week. “Really, me being able to pull off this whole week and play amazing tennis yesterday was something incredible, and something I would never expect I can do.”

Marketa Vondrousova: The reigning Wimbledon champion moved into her first semifinal since her Grand Slam run last summer, doing so with an upset of the No.2 seed and three-time Stuttgart finalist Aryna Sabalenka. That was also Vondrousova’s first Top 5 win since 2023 Wimbledon.

Emma Raducanu: The Brit kept up her patch of hot form in her comeback from season-ending surgery which occurred 12 months ago. During the last two weeks, she won four straight matches for the first time since her historic run to the 2021 US Open title, then challenged defending champion Iga Swiatek in a close Stuttgart quarterfinal.

Sloane Stephens: Meanwhile at the WTA 250 Open Capfinances Rouen Métropole in Rouen, France, Sloane Stephens made a successful return to the winner’s circle. The 2017 US Open champion defeated Magda Linette in Sunday’s final to capture her first WTA singles title in just over two years.

Garbiñe Muguruza: Best wishes to the former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion, who announced her retirement from tennis on Saturday.

Hot Shots

Last season’s WTA Newcomer of the Year, 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, showed off a bevy of drop shot skills as she booked her place in the Rouen quarterfinals:

Watch This: Mirra Andreeva’s four best drop shots in the Rouen second round

Notable Numbers

207: Elena Rybakina extended her lead as this year’s ace leader, hitting 26 this week (though none in the final) for a total of 207. Karolina Pliskova is in second place with 173.

5: With her semifinal win over two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek, Rybakina has posted five career wins over the reigning World No.1. All of those wins have come since the start of 2023; four were over Swiatek and one was over Aryna Sabalenka.

1: Marta Kostyuk became the first player from Ukraine to reach the Stuttgart final. The previous best result by a Ukrainian at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was Elina Svitolina’s semifinal run in 2021.

100: Despite her first loss at Stuttgart, Iga Swiatek will celebrate her 100th week at World No.1 on Monday.

From the Camera Roll

Aryna Sabalenka takes a shot at a tweener in Stuttgart:

Next Up

The Hologic WTA Tour now sets its sights on the fifth WTA 1000 event of the season, and the first of those on clay — the Mutua Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain. Main-draw play at the two-week event starts on Tuesday, April 23 at the Caja Magica.

Everything you need to know about the Mutua Madrid Open | Madrid draw breakdown

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka sets her sights on winning her third Madrid title in the last four years, while World No.1 Iga Swiatek seeks one of the few big titles she is yet to win.

Ons Jabeur, the 2022 champion, also returns to Madrid, while Elena Rybakina and Danielle Collins hope to add to their hot springtime streaks.


Leave a Reply