"Definitely clarify the rules": Jabeur sympathizes with Rybakina in "confusing" performance bye controversy

Ons Jabeur has said that she understands Elena Rybakina's argument regarding the performance byes being used on the WTA Tour's Asian Swing.

World No. 5 Rybakina was one of the top-seeded players set to compete at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo last week but was left frustrated when she was not given a bye in the first round like the other top-ranked players such as Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula.

Instead, she was scheduled to play against Linda Noskova in the first round while performance byes were given to World No. 6 Maria Sakkari and No. 10 Caroline Garcia.

Jabeur calls performance byes "confusing"

As a result of this situation, Rybakina criticized the WTA's use of performance byes on social media and claimed that they changed the rules last minute. She then withdrew from the tournament, citing health reasons. Meanwhile, Sakkari and Garcia both insisted that the rule was known about well in advance.

Since then, players and fans alike have been divided on the use of performance byes. Four-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek said that she thought they were a "smart" addition to the Tour as they helped players who were traveling from different parts of the world to play tournaments with only a few days inbetween.

However, three-time major finalist Jabeur was more critical of the WTA's decision, saying it was "confusing" and stressing the need for clear communication. She also suggested that the source of the problem could be the scheduling of events so close together while holding them in different continents.

"The rules on performance byes are really confusing. For me, I would have liked to have a bye performance for the Ningbo tournament. If it is allowed to give a tournament 500 to a 1000, then it is allowed to give it from a 250 to a 1000. I think the calendar should be better. We shouldn't have a tournament in Mexico, then Tokyo and then from Tokyo to here.

"I feel like, if they're going to give performance byes, maybe they should keep the byes normal and explain the rules better for sure. I don't think we had any explanation for that. I thought I had a bye in Ningbo to begin with and I didn't. It's frustrating.

"I understand Elena Rybakina’s point and I hope we can find a solution with the WTA and prevent this from happening. Definitely clarify the rules once and for all," Jabeur said.

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