By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday September 24, 2023
Elena Rybakina has never been shy about speaking up when she has an issue with the treatment she receives. A few months after she won Wimbledon she was sequestered to an outside court at the US Open and lost in the first round.
Her take on the experience?
“It’s (a) pity,” she said at the time. “I feel like actually I’m not the Wimbledon champion.”
It’s no surprise that she spoke out on Saturday, regarding the loss of a bye at the Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo. Due to the WTA trialing performance byes, third-seeded Rybakina lost out on her bye in the 28-player draw. It was given instead to No.4-seeded Maria Sakkari (who didn’t need it), and No.5-seeded Caroline Garcia, based on their semifinal performances at Guadalajara.
“Performance bye,” Rybakina wrote on Instagram, the words superimposed over pasted copy of the draw in bold black and white. “Thank you for changing the rules last moment… great decisions as always, WTA.”
Rybakina not holding back 😳😳😳 pic.twitter.com/VcKRAsQyAC
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) September 23, 2023
It isn’t clear exactly when the tour announced its plan to hand out performance byes at Tokyo, but it makes sense at a time when the tour is hoping to reward those who participate in big events. Credit to Sakkari, the champion at Guadalajara, and Garcia, for making the trek.
As for Rybakina’s beef, it could simply come down to better communication between players and the tour, which needs to come from both sides.