Madrid Open organizers FINALLY apologize for refusing a presentation speech to women’s doubles finalists after coming under fire for bringing ball girls in revealing outfits and decrying female players’ birthdays
- Champions Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia were denied speeches
- Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula were also not allowed to speak during Sunday’s final
- The women’s doubles stars have now received a public apology four days later
Madrid Open organizers have apologized for not allowing women’s doubles finalists to speak on court after Sunday’s match.
The PA news agency understands that the WTA is investigating the various issues raised last week regarding the treatment of its players at the Caja Magica, and the tournament’s president, Gerard Tsobanian, has now issued a public apology.
The convention is for the runners-up and winners to address the crowd after the finals, and champions Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia and defeated finalists Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula were shocked to be denied the opportunity.
Tsobanian wrote on Twitter: “We apologize to all players and fans who expect more from the Mutua Madrid Open tournament.
“It was unacceptable that we didn’t give our women’s doubles finalists the chance to address their fans at the end of the match and we apologized to Victoria, Beatriz, Coco and Jessica.
Women’s doubles stars Victoria Azarenka (left) and Beatriz Haddad Maia (right) were banned from giving speeches at the Madrid Open on Sunday, despite winning the tournament
There was also controversy over the outfits ball girls wore at the Madrid tournament
“We are working internally and with the WTA to review our protocols and are committed to improving our process going forward. We made a mistake and this will never happen again.’
There was also criticism of the revealing outfits worn by model ball girls on the main court and the way the tournament celebrated the birthday of male champion Carlos Alcaraz compared to women’s singles winner Aryna Sabalenka.
Their birthdays are May 5, but while Alcaraz was presented with a huge cake on court after his semi-final, Sabalenka, who didn’t play that day, was served a much more humble treat backstage.
It’s not the first time the Madrid Open, now owned by leading agency IMG, has been accused of favoring men over women, with Azarenka tweeting in response to photos of two cakes: ‘Couldn’t be more accurate about the treatment. ‘
In their speeches after the women’s final, Sabalenka made a joke about the cakes, while runner-up Iga Swiatek made it clear that she was not happy about having to play past midnight.
That seemed to be the last straw for tournament director Feliciano Lopez, who had hit back on Twitter for criticism of the pies.
The WTA has not made any public comment on the matter, but it is clear that it disagrees with the decisions made and is investigating the events.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the Italian Open in Rome this week, Pegula said: “I’ve never heard of that in my life (not allowed to speak).
Gerard Tsobanian (right), managing director of the Madrid Open, has since issued a public apology
Sunday’s runners-up Jessica Pegula (left) and Coco Gauff (right) also did not receive speeches
The organizers instead made a big fuss about the men’s winner, Carlos Alcaraz (below) on his birthday
“I don’t know what century everyone was living in when they made that decision or how they actually had a conversation and decided, like, ‘Wow, this is a great decision that we’re going to make and there’s going to be no backlash against this.'”
The Open was also criticized last week for replacing prom kids with female models for some matches, which was branded a sexist move that objectifies women purely for ratings.
They were also criticized for their “feminizing” ball girl outfits, including cropped tops and flared pleated skirts.
The organizers then rushed to the late u-turn and ball girls wore baggy shorts for the men’s singles final.