By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday October 30, 2023
World No.1 Aryna Sabalenka seemed to adjust to the conditions in play at the WTA Finals just fine. In fact, better than fine, as she blasted past Maria Sakkari 6-0, 6-1, in her opener on Sunday night in Mexico, but the Belarusian took to social media to say that her victory was not as easy as it looks – for several reasons.
Sabalenka says she didn’t feel safe moving on the court, added that the bounce wasn’t true and said that the WTA has done a disservice by not having the court ready until the last minute.
“I’m happy that I was able to stay focused tonight, overcome the conditions, and play well,” the world No. 1 wrote on social media. “I have to say though that I am very disappointed with the WTA and the experience so far at the WTA Finals. As I said in my press conference tonight, as a player I really feel disrespected by the WTA. I think most of us do. This is not the level of organization we expect for the Finals.
Strong comments about court condition from World No.1 Aryna Sabalenka on her Instagram feed last night: pic.twitter.com/BbIFbvjVu2
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) October 30, 2023
“To be honest, I don’t feel safe moving on this court a lot of the time, the bounce is not consistent at all, and we weren’t able to practice on this court until yesterday for the first time. It’s just not acceptable to me with so much on the line and so much at stake.”
Sabalenka’s sentiments were echoed by Elena Rybakina, who said “Of course, it’s not good,” after her loss to Jessica Pegula on Sunday.
2023 marks the third consecutive season that the WTA announced the location of its prestigious season-ending championships after the US Open, which makes it hard to prepare for the event and adds certain inefficiencies to the equation. The construction of the temporary stadium in Cancun was also challenged by extreme weather last week.
Sabalenka went on to show her appreciation for the organizers of the tournament, thanking them for building the court at the last minute. She also shared her love for the Mexican fans, saying it is not their fault.
The tour offered a statement as well, backing the quality of the court, and saying that it was up to standards.
“We’re pleased to host the WTA Finals in Cancun for the first time and worked hard to construct a stadium where the world’s top eight women’s tennis players and doubles teams compete head-to-head. The team has worked diligently on an…