Wimbledon champion calls for schedule change to ‘make it easier on us health wise’

Shahida Jacobs
Elena Rybakina playing in Montreal
Elena Rybakina reacts in Montreal

Elena Rybakina believes tennis needs a schedule overhaul as that will not only improve the quality of the matches, but also help when it comes to player injuries.

The 2022 Wimbledon winner continued her Madrid Open campaign with a straight-set win over Mayar Sherif and she will be back in action on Monday when she faces 18-year-old Sara Bejlek for a place in the semi-final.

But there will be no respite for those who reach the latter stages of the WTA 1000 event as they will head to Rome for next week’s Italian Open before they can take a short breather ahead of the French Open.

There have been a lot of complaints in recent months about the schedule as more and more tournaments are being added with players feeling the extra demands contribute to the increasing number of injuries among players.

Rybakina echoed those sentiments.

“For us, it’s very difficult schedule, that’s for sure. Of course, people want to see quality matches. It’s not easy to perform when you are travelling so much and you have week by week tournaments,” she said on Tennis Channel.

“I think the most important thing to have this consistency so the players don’t get injured, that’s the most important so I will say just to make it a little bit easier on us just health-wise.”

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It is not the first time that the Kazakh star has criticised the WTA’s leadership as she was far more outspoken during last year’s Canadian Open.

After her quarter-final match in Montreal finished at 02:55 local time, Rybakina was forced to return to court later in the day for her semi-final and she eventually ran out of steam.

She slammed the powers that be after the match, saying: “Definitely I feel destroyed just because of the scheduling and the whole situation. I’m not really happy about it, but yeah, it is what it is.

“Unfortunately, players cannot do much in these situations. The decision is not really ours. Weather was not helpful. So I picked up some injuries I would say, but we tried to manage it and see how we will go from that.”

Rybakina added: “It’s the first time when the match went I think 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. Leadership [is] a little bit weak for now, but hopefully something is going to change because this year it was many situations which I cannot really understand.”