Elena Rybakina has withdrawn from Tokyo after criticizing the tournament and the WTA over being left out of the top-4 seeding. Although Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia are both ranked below Rybakina, they earned a top-4 seeding ahead of the Kazakh due to the WTA's trialing of performance byes in Tokyo.
Instead of being a top-4 seed and having a first-round bye, Rybakina received the fifth-seeding and was drawn to face Linda Noskova in the Tokyo first round. After harshly calling out the WTA, Rybakina decided to withdraw from the tournament.
"I'm really sorry to have to withdraw from Tokyo this year. I was really looking forward to playing the event and I love the city. I have to prioritize my health and fitness and need time to get to 100 percent health," Rybakina said in a statement.
Elena Rybakina's official statement. 🚨👇
"I'm really sorry to have to withdraw from Tokyo this year. I was really looking forward to playing the event and I love the city. I have to prioritise my health and fitness and need time to get to 100 per cent health."
(via Toray PPO) pic.twitter.com/3xBUlpzKcb — Relevant Tennis (@RelevantTennis) September 25, 2023
Rybakina called out the WTA
This week in Tokyo, Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula are the two top-seeded players but they are also ranked ahead of Rybakina.
Rybakina, who came to Tokyo expecting to be a top-4 seed, wasn't happy at all. "Performance bye. Thank you for changing the rules last moment. Great decisions as always @wta," Rybakina captioned her Instagram Story over the weekend, which also included clown and circus emojis.
Meanwhile, it will take a bit more time before Rybakina returns to action. Rybakina last played at the US Open, where Sorana Cirstea upset the Kazakh 6-3 6-7 (6) 6-4. "She's a great player. She's number four in the world for a reason and she's also a sweetheart and I think she's wonderful for our tour.
I’ve lost twice against her before, and she’s a very good player. It's a great win for me, especially because I played well and I really think I gave everything I had tonight and I deserved this win. And again, thank you everyone for the support," Cirstea said after beating Rybakina at the US Open.
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