Elena Rybakina’s coach blasts WTA over performance byes introduction after former Wimbledon champ's rant
Elena Rybakina did not get a chance to feature in Pan Pacific Open after byes for the tournament were given to Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia
Former Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina decided to pull out of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Tuesday. Rybakina’s decision came days after she had slammed the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for introducing performance byes in the competition. Despite emerging victorious at the Wimbledon in 2022 and being a third seed, Rybakina did not get a bye to feature in the Pan Pacific Open.
Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov has now shared his opinion on this matter. “Just to make things clear, there is no explanation of what a performance bye is. What does this mean? Do we add byes to help performing players? Or do we take away ranking earned byes? And isn't ranking itself a sign of performance? Last year we came from a final in Europe and played in Japan 2 days later and performance byes were no where to be found . The issue is always the same lack of communication. This will also apply from Tokyo 500 to Beijing 1000 next week. Four performance byes will be awarded. Most players have already qualified for the final eight, so for what reason should they even compete before Cancun. The reason is that most tournaments are mandatory, and fines are given out to players if you dont compete in them,” Vukov wrote on one of his Instagram stories.
The Croatian coach went on to suggest that the current system does not work. Asking for transparency, Vukov urged others to stop blaming tennis players for mistakes made by the system.
Byes are generally awarded to players who are top-seeded. Meanwhile, performance byes give chances to players, who display impressive show in the previous week, to enter the second round of the next competition.
Elena Rybakina crashed out of this year’s US Open in the third round after facing a defeat at the hands of Sorana Cirstea. Following her US Open elimination, Rybakina aimed to make a fresh start at the Pan Pacific Open. But her chances of taking part in Pan Pacific Open were shattered after byes for the competition were given to Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia.
"As a player I want to give my all on the court and at the moment my body is not ready to do that. That's why I decided to listen to my body and withdraw from the tournament. I love Japan, my fans here are so unique and for that reason this is a tough decision. The WTA topic is another topic, on which I have my opinions and will clearly voice them in future,” Rybakina wrote on her Instagram story.
Sixth-ranked Maria Sakkari earned the bye having won the Guadalajara Open title. France’s Caroline Garcia, on the other hand, reached the semifinals of the Guadalajara Open to secure a bye for Pan Pacific Open.
In the WTA standings, both Sakkari and Garcia are ranked lower than Rybakina, who was scheduled to face Czech tennis player Linda Noskova in the first round. Rybakina, 24, currently claims the fifth spot in the WTA rankings.