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MELBOURNE: Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina shrugged off having to play Monday’s Australian Open first round match on an outer court at Melbourne Park, saying she did not care where she competed as long as she can cap it off with confidence-boosting wins.

The Russian-born Kazakh got just that on court 13 with a 7-5 6-3 victory Elisabetta Cocciaretto, the runner-up at last week’s Hobart International and said she had no problem being away from the spotlight.

Men’s and women’s governing bodies the ATP and WTA stripped Wimbledon of ranking points after its organisers decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

That meant Rybakina lost out on 2,000 ranking points after she defeated Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon final and the chance to climb from 25 into the top 10, which could have potentially seen her begin her Melbourne campaign on one of the show courts.

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“Of course if I think about Wimbledon it was great and it gave me confidence but it was special conditions there and maybe I didn’t the benefit which Grand Slam champions normally get,” 22nd seed Rybakina told reporters.

“But I don’t really care and I just want to compete, I want to win. No matter which court I play on, it’s great to be here. It doesn’t matter (where I play next). Hopefully I can keep on winning and every match brings me confidence.”

Rybakina, who previously said she does not feel like the Wimbledon champion, next faces Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan.

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