Elena Rybakina unhappy with WTA decision after not receiving bye in Pan Pacific Open draw
Former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina criticized the WTA's decision-making process after receiving her draw for the 2023 Toray Pan Pacific Open.
The draw for the WTA 500 tournament, which begins on Monday (September 25), was made public on Saturday, September 23. World No. 2 Iga Swiatek leads the star-studded lineup as the top seed.
Swiatek got a bye in the first round, as is usually the case for top-seeded players. However, Rybakina did not receive that privilege even though she is the third seed. The Kazakh has to begin her campaign from square one, against Czech teenager Linda Noskova in the first round.
Even though Rybakina was seeded higher, two players - Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia, ranked and seeded lower than the Kazakh - received a bye in the first round. Sakkari, the No. 4 seed, and Garcia, the No. 5 seed, got this advantage due to their exploits at the 2023 Guadalajara Open.
Sakkari beat Garcia in the Guadalajara semifinals before defeating Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 6-3 in the final on Sunday, September 24.
Elena Rybakina, however, found it hard to wrap her head around the situation. She took to her Instagram stories and uploaded a picture of the draw, writing:
"Performance bye. Thank you for changing the rules last moment. Great decisions as always @wta."
Elena Rybakina had also called out the WTA over her late night match finish at the Canadian Open 2023
Back in August, Elena Rybakina exited the 2023 Canadian Open after losing in the semifinals against Liudmila Samsonova.
At the time, the Kazakh appeared to be upset with the WTA for the poor scheduling of matches. Her quarterfinal match against Daria Kasatkina ended at around 3 a.m. local time.
Rybakina was scheduled to meet Samsonova in the next round only 15 hours later, which eventually got postponed due to rain.
"It’s the first time when the match went that long and we finished also so late. It’s the first time and hopefully the last time because I think it’s been a little bit unprofessional from the, I cannot say really the tournament because I think that the most important is the WTA here, and the leadership is a little bit weak for now," Rybakina told the media during the WTA 1000 tournament.
"But hopefully, something is going to change because this year, it was many situations which I cannot really understand," she added.