Top tennis stars and fans are outraged as women’s doubles players are BANNED from speaking after their final at the Madrid Open
- Women’s doubles players prevented from speaking
- Fans and players are outraged by the incident
- Madrid Open is mired in controversy
All four players who took part in Sunday’s women’s doubles final at the Madrid Open were banned from speaking after the match, infuriating fans and players alike.
The Spanish tournament has sparked more controversy this week by preventing winning duo Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad-Maia and runners-up Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula from giving a speech after receiving their trophies.
Finalists in singles and men’s doubles were all allowed to make customary speeches to the crowd after their respective matches.
The issue immediately caught fire on social media with former players such as Australian great Rennae Stubbs calling the tournament a ‘disgrace’.
“So for a tournament to deny players a speech after winning a @WTA 1000 is a SHAME!! I hope the WTA never lets this happen again. What was the reason @MutuaMadridOpen and @WTA???,” Stubbs wrote on Twitter.
All four players who took part in the women’s doubles final at the Madrid Open on Monday morning were banned from speaking after the match (from left to right in photo: Jessica Pegula, Coco Gauff, Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia)
Officials have not given a reason why the stars couldn’t speak after the match – with the incident on top of other recent controversies at the tournament
World number 4 Ons Jabeur labeled the incident as ‘sad’ and ‘unacceptable’.
An irate Gauff took to social media as she came off the field and shared the speech she planned to give.
“Didn’t get a chance to speak today after the final,” she wrote.
But thank you to the fans for supporting us and women’s tennis this week! Thanks (Jessica Pegula) for always keeping the track fun and making unreal clutch shots hahahaha Finally, big congratulations Vika and Bia.
‘Thanks also to my team and Jess’s team of course!
‘Also for the ball kids, the tournament staff and everyone else who works hard behind the scenes.
“Twitter format doesn’t allow me to say everything I would have said during the speech if we had it. But I just wanted to say I’m grateful.”
Top tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg wrote, “The Mutua Madrid Open choosing to silence (i.e. not let them speak at the trophy ceremony) the women’s doubles finalists for standing behind Cakegate and some cursory criticism yesterday is really one of the wilder miscalculations I’ve made. seen in tennis lately.’
The ‘disgraceful’ incident has outraged tennis fans and players around the world
The tournament has come under fire in recent weeks for both sexism and misogyny
Tournament officials have not given a reason why the stars couldn’t speak, but the incident comes on the heels of other recent controversies that have put the tournament in the line of fire.
The Open was criticized last week for replacing prom kids with female models for some matches, branded a sexist move that objectifies women purely for ratings.
Days later, a debate about gender equality erupted among fans after it was pointed out that Aryna Sabalenka and Carlos Alcaraz – who share birthdays – were being treated very differently by tournament organizers.
Alcaraz, the number two in the men’s world, was handed an impressive multi-layer cake, while Sabalenka seemed to fall short with its one-layer offer.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek also lashed out at the tournament organizers this weekend after being defeated by Aryna Sabalenka in the final.
Swiatek complained that she had to finish several games after midnight on her way to the title match.
“However, it’s not fun to play at 1am,” she said after the game.
“I’m glad I got past this experience anyway and survived and got into the final.”
Tournament director Feliciano Lopez, who stood by Swiatek, appeared visibly unimpressed by her comments.