Elena Rybakina withdraws from Toray Pan Pacific Open after bye snub

Elena Rybakina has withdrawn from the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan, following the controversy surrounding performance byes which led to her being snubbed.

World No. 5 Rybakina was the third seed at the WTA 500 tournament. Therefore, she was expecting to receive a bye in the first round of the tournament along with Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula.

However, she was left without one when the WTA decided to trial performance byes at the tournament, meaning the privilege went to World No. 6 Maria Sakkari and World No. 10 Caroline Garcia instead.

Rybakina called out WTA decision

Rybakina had already expressed her frustration and confusion at the WTA's last-minute decision here and took to social media to express her emotions.

"Performance bye. Thank you for changing the rules at the last moment. Great decisions as always @wta," she wrote on her Instagram stories.

This is the second time in recent months that the Kazakhstani player has been at odds with the WTA, after having called their leadership 'weak' due to late-night scheduling at the Canadian Open in August, where she ended up playing one match until nearly 3 a.m.

Rybakina was set to face Linda Noskova in the opening round of the Pan Pacific Open. She will now be replaced by Himeno Sakatsume, who will take on the Czech player in the first round.

Meanwhile, there is a chance that Rybakina could protest the use of performance byes, but that is only speculation and it could simply be an aspect of tournaments that players will have to get used to.

In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Rybakina wrote:

"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."

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