Elena Rybakina claims ‘many players are not happy’ about performance bye rules

Elena Rybakina in action
Elena Rybakina reacts during a match

World No 5 Elena Rybakina has reiterated her complaints about the returning performance bye system from Beijing.

Rybakina withdrew from the Tokyo Open after claiming that a last minute change cost her a first round bye.

It has since been counter-claimed that players were aware that performance byes would be in play due to travel distances between tournaments at this time of the season.

While some players have supported the decision, Rybakina says that many players are not happy with the changes.

Rybakina has clarified her claims now, saying that while she was aware that performance byes would be awarded she was not aware that top seeds would lose the byes they would customarily receive.

“In Tokyo I was not happy,” Rybakina said from the China Open

“They did not inform me about the performance bye. What was written on the information sheet & everywhere is that in Tokyo there would be between four & six performance byes, what she did not explain was whether they would add two additional byes or remove one. Here the rule is a little different & it was explained a little better.”

Rybakina believes that byes should be the reserve of the players who have the highest ranking.

She felt that it wasn’t a good look for lower-ranked players to have their feet up while the world No 1 has to play a first round match.

“I don’t think it would be good to put this rule only at the end of the season because we had a lot of events like this,” Rybakina added.

“I don’t think it looks good for the world No 1 not to have a bye. This is something to discuss with the players & see how it is going to be the rule in the future because it has not been fulfilled for four years.

“That is why many players, especially young players, did not know it. It is not that difficult to explain how it is going to work, that is why many players are not happy.”

World No 1 Aryna Sabalenka battled past Great Britain’s Katie Boulter 7-5 7-6 (7-2) in the second round of the China Open on Tuesday.

After the match she said that she was relieved to come through a real scare.

“I definitely left everything I had on the court,” Sabalenka said after the match.

“She played unbelievable tennis. I’m super happy that I was able to win this match.”

No 5 seed Rybakina will face Mirra Andreeva in the last 16 in Beijing while Sabalenka is set for a meeting with Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.

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