"Clarify the rules once and for all” - Ons Jabeur sides with Elena Rybakina on performance bye controversy after not receiving one for Ningbo Open
Ons Jabeur said she understands Elena Rybakina’s frustration about the performance byes after not being awarded one for the Ningo Open.
Fresh off her first-ever hardcourt title at the WTA 250 event in Ningbo, Jabeur kicked off her China Open campaign with a bang. She eased past Ashlyn Krueger in straight sets (6-3, 6-4) in the first round on Monday, October 2.
The World No. 7 wasted no time after her victory in Ningbo last week, keeping her winning streak alive with a quick two-day turnaround.
In a post-match press conference after her first-round victory over Krueger, Ons Jabeur shed light on the concept of performance byes. She expressed her dissatisfaction when she didn't receive a bye after winning the Ningo Open.
“The rules on performance byes are really confusing. For me, I would have liked to have a bye performance for the Ningbo tournament. If it is allowed to give a tournament 500 to a 1000, then it is allowed to give it from a 250 to a 1000,” Ons Jabeur said. (via The Tennis Letter)
The Tunisian criticized the WTA for not adequately clarifying the performance bye rules and for poor scheduling of tournaments. She continued to express her anger and support for Elena Rybakina's position on the matter.
“I think the calendar should be better. We shouldn't have a tournament in Mexico, then Tokyo and then from Tokyo to here. I feel like, if they're going to give performance byes, maybe they should keep the byes normal and explain the rules better for sure. I don't think we had any explanation for that," she said.
“I thought I had a bye in Ningbo to begin with and I didn't. It's frustrating. I understand Elena Rybakina’s point & I hope we can find a solution with the WTA and prevent this from happening. Definitely clarify the rules once and for all," Jabeur added.
World No. 5 Rybakina had earlier called out the WTA for awarding performance byes to lower-ranked players like Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia over her in Tokyo this year.
"Performance bye. Thank you for changing the rules last moment. Great decisions as always @wta," Rybakina captioned her Instagram Story.
Ons Jabeur- “I discovered something in me that can help me for the rest of my career”
Ons Jabeur fought sickness throughout her 2023 US Open campaign, and after battling through the first three rounds, she fell to Zheng Qinwen of China in the fourth round at Louis Armstrong Stadium, losing 6-2, 6-4.
Despite the disappointment of not repeating last year's journey to the final and coming only weeks after a heartbreaking loss in the Wimbledon final, Jabeur saw plenty of positives from her US Open stint. Speaking at a press conference in New York, she said:
"No matter what the tournament is, you always take a great lesson [away]. For me, I discovered something in me that can help me for the rest of the season and rest of my career: it’s managing these conditions, I know that can dig deep."
"Sometimes I'm tough with myself because today I couldn't turn on the warrior mode and it was disappointing, but I know that I was trying my best. It's tough to accept it at the time but that is the lesson I will take. We will work on some technical things and hopefully be ready for the next tournaments," Ons Jabeur added.