There is a growing concern regarding the tennis scheduling in tournaments in recent months. Mainly due to anxious late finishes of each tournament that has not allowed players to recover in time for the next round. This perennial pattern has not changed and players like Elena Rybakina and her coach have voiced their opinions on the situation.
The recent WTA Tokyo 500 schedule has led to some players grunting at the performance byes. The performance byes was buried inside the WTA’s rulebook but wasn’t communicated with the players when the draw was made. Elena Rybakina learned that she had to play in the first round while players ranked below her got a free pass to the second round.
Elena Rybakina’s coach called on Novak Djokovic’s PTPA following a WTA dispute
The Tokyo WTA 500 was set to be World No. 5 Elena Rybakina’s first tournament since she suffered a disappointing third-round exit at the US Open. But the Kazakh was left frustrated when the performance bye she would usually receive for being the third seed was instead allocated to those who had a deep run in Guadalajara tournament.
The WTA has come under fire in recent days as Elena Rybakina has slammed the WTA for introducing performance byes at the tournament. She wouldn’t be receiving a bye at the Toray Pan Pacific Open despite being the third seed. Instead, the tour introduced performance byes – handing them out to players who went deep at a tournament the week before, with two in Tokyo going to Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia.
Elena Rybakina’s coach, Stefano Vukov has fumed against the performance bye that had been added to the WTA rule book and appealed to Novak Djokovic’s Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) as he slammed the system.
“The reason is that most tournaments are mandatory, and fines are given out to players if you don’t compete in them. Players always pay the consequences. The system doesn’t work.”
Previously Elena Rybakina took to Instagram saying, “Performance bye. Thank you for changing the rules last moment,” she wrote alongside a screenshot of the draw. “Great decisions as always @wta,” she added, using clown and circus tent emojis.
Elena Rybakina’s coach vents his frustration over performance byes in Tokyo 2023
Elena Rybakina’s coach, Stefano Vukov has vented his frustration about the performance byes ahead of WTA 500 in Tokyo. Vukov made this known through his instagram story.
“Just to make things clear, there is no explanation of what a performance bye is. What does this mean?” Elena Rybakina’s coach wrote. “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 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. 4 performance byes will be awarded,” He added
Vukov continued calling out the WTA, adding that the system simply doesn’t work. He called on the organisation for more transparency. “Most players have already qualified for the final 8, 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 don’t compete in them. Players always pay the consequences.”
“The system doesn’t work. The marketing is terrible as you can all see Elena qualified weeks ago, and just yesterday, WTA decided to post something. We need transparency. All players need to understand what is going on. Stop blaming players for mistakes made by the system itself,” he concluded.
With this performance byes, top 50 players in the ranking will be more selective on which tournament to compete in. And if Novak Djokovic’s PTPA don’t come to rescue this situation there will be more grunt and repercussion which is not good for the sports.