Elena Rybakina's coach, Stefano Vukov, faced backlash from tennis fans for his remarks regarding the WTA. Vukov's comments came in the wake of Rybakina's withdrawal from the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan.
Rybakina recently said she was pulling out of the WTA 500 event because she wanted to prioritize her physical well-being. The 24-year-old's decision stirred controversy given her earlier criticism of the WTA for awarding performance byes, which caused her to lose her customary first-round bye despite being the third seed.
Following Elena Rybakina's withdrawal, her coach Stefano Vukov expressed his discontent on social media, highlighting the WTA's unclear policies regarding performance byes and a general lack of transparency.
He also took issue with the WTA's operational procedures, arguing that players who have already secured qualification for the 2023 WTA Finals should not be forced to partake in tournaments just to avoid fines.
"Most players have already qualified for the final 8, so for what reason should they even compete before Cancun. The reason is that most tournaments are mandatory, and fines are given out to players if you dont compete in them. Players always pay the consequences," he wrote.
Several fans disagreed with Vukov's argument, particularly the idea that players should stop competing after qualifying for the year-end championships. They pointed out that Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka could have skipped a big portion of the season on that ground.
"Does he just want players to skip months of play because theyve made yec? Aryna and iga had it clinched by like july...," a fan commented.
"By this logic Iga and Aryna should have stopped playing and just waited for Cancun since grass season.... Just check your emails and stop playing a victim to everything," another fan chimed in.
Another fan raised questions about what the response would be if players like Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev employed a similar "nonsensical argument" to justify their absence from tournaments.
""Why should players who have already qualified for YEC even compete before Cancun?" Imagine Swiatek coming up with this nonsensical argument last year after Roland Garros... Or Alcaraz this year after Wimbledon... Or Medvedev right now...," the fan posted.
Here are a few more fan reactions:
Elena Rybakina, Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek have qualified for WTA Finals 2023
Elena Rybakina, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff have clinched four of the eight coveted spots for the 2023 WTA Finals, scheduled to take place in Cancun, Mexico, from October 29 to November 5.
With 8,210 points to her name, Sabalenka has qualified for the year-end championships for the third year in a row. Swiatek is also set to make her third appearance at the event, having recorded 6,905 points for the season so far.
Gauff, the reigning US Open champion, has qualified for the year-end championships with 5,620 points. Meanwhile, with 5,476 points, Elena Rybakina has achieved the feat for the first time in her career, also becoming the first woman from Kazakhstan to qualify for the WTA Finals.