Rybakina's Travel Distance Contradicts Tennis' Fight Against Carbon Emissions

Rybakina's Travel Distance Contradicts Tennis' Fight Against Carbon Emissions

by Nurein Ahmed

Professional tennis contributes to the issue of climate change due to its associated carbon emissions as a result of traveling.

Traveling is an unavoidable part of the life of tennis players, and they do so almost every week for an entire year, which technically, contradicts the ATP and WTA's fight on the issue. The full picture of the carbon reduction process has not been made clear.

There has been a concerted effort by tennis governing bodies to find a solution to limit players' carbon footprint, including the introduction of the Carbon Tracker App that creates awareness of players' carbon emissions during the season and offsets their journeys with an environmentally friendly approach.

Players and activists have previously raised their concerns about how tennis leadership has spoken about instilling changes, but nothing concrete has come out of it. Recently, ATP player Reilly Opelka believes the tennis calendar needs significant adjustment to cope with the issue of climate change.

Opelka put the ATP on the spot alluding that the umbrella body looking after men's tennis has not put forth any measures to offset players' carbon footprint. Take, for instance, WTA world No. 5 Elena Rybakina who has only played 57 matches this season but has clocked nearly 70,000 miles in travel distance.

Rybakina is among the WTA players who have played the fewest number of tournaments this season in comparison to some of her top-ranked peers. But because of the way the tour-level tournaments are dispersed, they account for such a high carbon footprint.

Her season which began in Australia, has involved at least 16 flight trips to play tennis tournaments in the Middle East, North America, Europe, and Asia. She'll still need to travel to southeastern Mexico to play at the WTA Finals. This is without taking into account ground transportation and tournament infrastructure which result in energy consumption and carbon emission.


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