Tennis Prose



WTA “Performance Bye” Ignites Controversy in Tokyo

Elena Rybakina is ranked 5 in the world and was seeded 3 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, but the WTA refused to give her a first round bye, while instead issuing it to Caroline Garcia, the 5 seed and ranked 10. Team Rybakina was understandably upset by the injustice – or corruption – and withdrew from the tournament, citing an alleged injury.

Elena Rybakina’s coach, Stefano Vukov, expressed his dismay about the unfair and suspicious usage – or misuse – of performance byes in Tokyo:

“Just to make things clear, there is no explanation of what a performance bye is. What does this mean? Do we add byes to help performing players? Or do we take away ranking earned byes? And isn’t ranking itself a sign of performance? Last year we came from a final in Europe and played in Japan 2 days later and performance byes no where to be found . The issue is always the same lack of communication. This will also apply from tokyo 500 to Beijing 1000 next week. 4 performance byes will be awarded. 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. The system doesn’t work. The marketing is terrible as you can all see Elena qualified weeks ago, and just yesterday WTA decided to post something. We need transparency. All players need to understand what is going on. Stop blaming players for mistakes made by the system itself.”

Lucky Loser Sakatsume, who replaces Rybakina in the draw, will face Linda Noskova in the first round.

Things are getting very interesting in the ATP and WTA lately and veiled accusations of corruption and injustice do not do any favors for the image of the sport.

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  • Sam · October 8, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    Since comments are now closed on the older article, moving this to a newer WTA article:

    “It feels like I can play freely again.” – sounds like she was harnessed by the establishment and not allowed to beat Coco last time? Hopefully she will be allowed to keep her new “attitude.”

    Yes, Scoop, I’m sure she’d love to make Patti LaBelle proud. 😏

    I’m reading a lot of cryptic messaging from Iga, how about you?

    Let’s just say it’s, um, interesting. 🤓

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 8, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    Very interesting choice of words Sam, “Freely” again implies she was imprisoned and prohibited by some hidden forces. I pay very close attention to words and tones. I remember Don King’s hwt champ Bermane Stiverne, a 38 year old Haitian with no personality, was the WBC champ and then he lost the title to the young black american Deontay Wilder, with the big knockout record. Looked like a fix, all the money was behind Wilder, who was being hyped as the next m Mike Tyson. Wilder’s first title defense after beating Stiverne was against Eric Molina who just happened to be another Don King fighter. At the press conference for Wilder vs Molina WBC heavyweight title fight, King spoke and said that Stiverne “transferred the title” to Wilder. Basically calling it a fix, a business transaction. King obviously negotiated himself to get the first title defense payday for Molina as part of the deal for he and Stiverne selling the title to Wilder. Wilder beat Molina easy. Not one other boxing writer noticed King’s words “transferred the title” so it’s no surprise Iga dangled the truth out there and nobody picked up on it but me.

  • Sam · October 10, 2023 at 8:12 pm

    Interesting about the boxing fixing. 🍿

    so it’s no surprise Iga dangled the truth out there and nobody picked up on it but me.

    Or if they did, Scoop, they’re keeping their cards close to their vest. 🂣 😉

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 10, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    Sam, yes they could be covering for the establishment. When Svitolina mentioned after her US Open SF or QF loss to Serena about having made her flight plans to China BEFORE the match, which she lost easily, nobody questioned her about it. She said it in the post match press conference.

  • Sam · October 12, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    Yes, Scoop, what she said was really weird. 🤔

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 12, 2023 at 9:48 pm

    Sam I have never heard a player say they were prohibited from playing freely, she was making a revelation. Carefully chosen words to reveal a secret without pissing off the tennis deep state.

  • Sam · October 15, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    Could very well be, Scoop.



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