Elena Rybakina is targeting consistency and staying fit over becoming world number one, for now.
Rybakina defeated world number two Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (13-11) 6-4 on Sunday to clinch the Indian Wells Open title.
It brought up a fourth singles title of her career, her maiden WTA 1000 trophy and her first success since winning Wimbledon last year.
Rybakina overcame Iga Swiatek in the last four, making her the first player since Garbine Muguruza at the 2017 Western & Southern Open to beat the world number one and two in the semi-finals and final of a single tournament.
The Kazakh will rise to world number seven after her success in the Californian desert, but when asked if the top of the rankings was her next target, Rybakina told Amazon Prime: "I'll try but first of all I just want to have the consistency, the most important thing is to stay healthy because it's still the beginning of the year.
"If I continue like this I have all the chance to be higher in the top 10, we'll see how it's going to go."
She added: "It feels amazing. I didn't expect two sets, I thought it would be a three-set battle. It wasn't easy, it was a bit windy, I lost the two games, I was getting nervous, but I managed to sort it out."
1 & 2 - Elena Rybakina is the first player to defeat the world numbers 1 and 2 at the semi-final and final of a single tournament since Garbine Muguruza in Cincinnati (2017). Fearless.#TennisParadise | @BNPPARIBASOPEN @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/Q9uEN5Eox5— OptaAce (@OptaAce) March 19, 2023
The two games Rybakina referred to came in the second set, when she went from 5-2 up to 5-4 before regaining her composure.
Rybakina had also come out on top in an almighty tussle in the first-set tie-break, with Sabalenka unable to then rediscover her best form during the second set.
Sunday's success marked Rybakina's first victory over Sabalenka – who she lost to in the final of this season's Australian Open – in five attempts.
Though Sabalenka is not planning on losing another one, as the Belarusian comically interjected during Rybakina's post-match on-court interview.
"I'll make sure it was the last one," Sabalenka quipped after Rybakina had explained "it was the first time it went my way" in a meeting with the 24-year-old.
"It's been always a pleasure to play against you and always the toughest battle," Rybakina continued.
"Hopefully I'll be back next year to defend this result."
Sabalenka was courteous in defeat, saying: "First of all Elena I want to congratulate you and your team on another amazing week. Hopefully we'll play in many more finals, hopefully next time it'll go to me!"
RYBAKINA'S REVENGE— wta (@WTA) March 19, 2023
Elena Rybakina picks up her first career WTA 1000 title with a 7-6(11), 6-4 victory over Sabalenka in Indian Wells!#TennisParadise pic.twitter.com/Q50lJnK7YD
However, she was already focusing on putting the defeat behind her, with the Miami Open next up.
"For me it's quite easy. I think it's gonna stay in my head until tomorrow, and tomorrow we are flying to Miami and I will forget this one," she told reporters.
"The thing is helping me to stay focused and to keep winning is just to focus on myself and focus on the game and focus on things what I have to do on court to keep winning.
"This one was tough, especially in the finals, it's always tough to lose. You're one step to the trophy and you lose it. This one is really tough. But she's a great player."
The last five WTA titles at Indian Wells have now been won by players yet to turn 24, while Rybakina became the 25th female player to win the title.