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2 Days After Elena Rybakina’s Sarcastic Jibe, Her Coach Follows in Her Footsteps With a Scathing Critique of WTA’s Bizarre Experiment

Published 09/26/2023, 12:22 AM EDT

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via Imago

The WTA has been in the hot seat with players and critics because of its recent slew of bizarre management decisions. After the hectic scheduling of matches for almost 2 months, WTA further disappointed the community with an out-of-the-blue ‘bye’ decision. In the previous months, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff, among others, have voiced their concerns about the WTA’s handling of things. Just two days ago, Elena Rybakina expressed how displeased she was at the last-minute ‘bye’ rule change ahead of the Tokyo Open. The Kazakh champion helplessly took a sarcastic jibe at the WTA after it decided to award byes based on players’ previous week’s performance, ignoring the rankings. Now another prominent personality from her team has chimed in.

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The World No. 5’s coach, Stefano Vukov, shared the Kazakh star’s sentiments. He poured his heart out and lashed at the authorities for their unprofessional conduct.

Elena Rybakina’s coach uncorks his vexation against WTA’s indifference


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After Rybakina exited the US Open in her third round against Sorana Cirstea, the Pan Pacific Open was the Kazakh star’s beginning to a fresh start. But she was robbed of the opportunity mercilessly in a jiffy. The former World No.3’s bye was awarded to Caroline Garcia owing to her semi-final spot in the Guadalajara Open.

Like Rybakina, her coach, Vukov also took to his Instagram story to explain the implications of not receiving a bye. The Croatian coach wrote, “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?” Despite being a 3rd seed and winning the Wimbledon Championships last year, the Kazakh star did not receive a bye at the Tokyo Open.


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Rybakina was a finalist at the Slovenia Open and had to play in Tokyo 2 days later without a bye. The same happened this year, and the byes shall apply from the WTA 500 in Tokyo to the WTA 1000 tournament in Beijing. The coach explained that most tournaments are mandatory, and players receive a fine if they don’t play.

So, though most players have already qualified for the final 8 at the WTA finals in Cancun, Mexico, they play these matches to avoid a hefty penalty. The Australian Open finalist’s long-term coach hammered the organization ahead of her staggering decision.

Elena Rybakina and her team set clear boundaries


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Vukov claimed that players are hit with consequences for the system’s fault. He wrote, “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.”

via Imago

Hours after the coach of Elena Rybakina coach echoed her sentiments, she announced her withdrawal from the Tokyo Open. The 24-year-old revealed on her Instagram story that she wishes to give her all on the court, but her body is not cooperating. Despite loving Japan and the fans there, Rybakina stated that she was forced to listen to her body and make the tough decision.


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The Kazakh star thanked her fans for their support while clarifying that the WTA concerns were a different issue. However, Rybakina also explained that she would continue to voice her issues regarding the WTA’s management in the future.

WATCH THIS STORY: Alarm Bells Gets Louder For The WTA Tour As Daunting Coco Gauff Statement Issued By Serena Williams’ Former Coach – ‘Don’t See Any..’

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Written by:

Krishna Priya


One take at a time

Vadlamani Krishna Priya is a tennis writer at Essentially Sports. Pursuing her passion for storytelling, she has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. Helped by her cousin who introduced her to the rules and regulations of the game during her childhood, Roger Federer matches became Priya's gateway to the world of tennis.
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Edited by:

Mitali Dey