The contentious relationship between Elena Rybakina and the WTA shows no signs of stopping just yet. Rybakina slammed the governing body once again, for introducing last-minute changes, ahead of the Japan Open. And now, her coach, Stefano Vukov, has waded into this controversy too.
The latest controversy revolves around ‘performance byes’. Due to its sudden introduction, Elena has been overlooked once again. Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari got them instead, for making deep runs at the Guadalajara Open a week prior.
The Kazakh withdrew from the tournament, citing health issues, but not before taking a shot at the WTA. Her coach too has slammed the WTA for their incompetence. He highlighted how it was unclear what exactly a performance bye was, and who deserved it.
Elena Rybakina’s coach, Stefano Vukov, vents his frustration about the performance byes in Tokyo:
“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… pic.twitter.com/lWdMAqu6fS
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 25, 2023
Vukov called for more transparency. But there was a note of dejectedness too, because he thinks it will be repeated again in Beijing. He demanded better for the players, especially those who have already qualified for the WTA finals. Stefano also spoke of how players always suffer consequences for skipping mandatory tournaments.
Elena Rybakina has openly voiced her annoyance with the WTA in the past. The WTA and ATP had jointly decided not to award points for Wimbledon 2022 since the Club had banned Russians from competing. Rybakina, who won the title last year, did not get her due and had to play the US Open seeded 25th.
The controversies just snowballed from there on. Elena severely criticized the WTA again during the Canadian Open in Montreal. The players had a punishing schedule, and Rybakina finished her match against Daria Kasatkina around 3 a.m. Rybakina was mentally and physically destroyed.
This is the latest issue in the Rybakina-WTA struggle. But on the plus side, fans strongly support Elena and Vukov for taking a stand against the WTA.
Fans support Elena Rybakina in her ongoing fight against the WTA
Players and fans alike have lambasted the WTA for their harmful decisions of late. With the tours becoming more grueling, players have had to bear the brunt. Several tennis players have withdrawn from tournaments, or been injured.
This latest controversy sheds light on the incompetence of the governing body, as fans absolutely ripped into them. One fan even brought up how Novak Djokovic‘s PTPA was the only organization looking out for players. “That’s what Djokovic was trying to say since the pandemic in 2020,” they wrote. Here are a few reactions to Vukov’s statements.
That’s what djokovic was trying to say since the pandemic in 2020
Every player should join the PTPA … because ATP and WTA aren’t working for players any more … they are working for the money
and we should thank rybakina and her team for speaking against the establishment
— Ibrahim #24 🇸🇾🇷🇸✝️✝️ (@IbrahimKhory) September 25, 2023
See WTA, you make me agree with Vukov of all ppl. See how terrible you are … i am in pain rn
— Kamis 🎾⛸️🤸🏽♀️ (@kamilarmc) September 25, 2023
Well said. He’s right
— 🧡🧡 (@TallFicus) September 25, 2023
WTA is collapsing. It’s not a tour it’s a circus.
— HarleyWeggerton (@HWeggerton) September 25, 2023
Elena Rybakina continues to make her stance very clear against the WTA, who need to do better. With more and more players speaking up against them, the WTA must reevaluate their plans.