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Rybakina wary of wind ahead of Indian Wells defence

Indian Wells reigning women’s champion Elena Rybakina will focus on mastering tricky desert conditions as she launches the defence of her title on Friday.

The WTA number four opens her campaign against Argentine Nadia Podoroska in the second round after receiving a bye at the Tennis Garden in California.

The Kazakh is wary of the challenge posed by the wind at the desert venue, admitting there is really nothing to be done.

“It’s always challenging with the weather here,” she said on Thursday.

“The ball flies differently during the day and the night. Conditions are the same for all players but you need to adapt quickly.”

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Rybakina said that preparation can only stretch so far.

“You can try to train at different times of the day to see how it is. But if the wind here comes there is not much you can do – only fight.”

The 2022 Wimbledon champion has already collected two titles this season, winning Brisbane in January and Abu Dhabi last month; she pulled out of Dubai with illness.

But Rybakina plays down her chances for a trophy repeat in California.

“I’m not expecting much,” she said after recovering from her Dubai problem.

“If I feel well physically I can play well. I’ve had a good start to the year. I want to win again and I’ll do my best.

“You never know how it’s going to go so we will see.”

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