Misc Tennis

Madrid and Rome Fiascos Not Helping WTA

Madrid and Rome Fiascos Not Helping WTA

By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Monday, May 22, 2023

It’s not been the best couple of weeks for the WTA.


While the WTA 1000 events in Madrid and Rome concluded with Aryna Sabalenka (Madrid) and Elena Rybakina (Rome) winning their respective singles titles, several issues created less than ideal public relations for both tournament organizers and the WTA. 

These issues continue to generate discussion on social media and in the sports press about how the women’s tour is treated differently than the men’s tour.


First, in Madrid, there was “cakegate” when Sabalenka was presented with a smaller birthday cake the day after hometown hero Carlos Alcaraz was given a much larger cake for his on-court birthday celebration by organizers. 

At the end of Madrid, the women’s doubles finalists and champions were, for no explicable reason, not permitted the opportunity to speak and say Thank Yous during the trophy presentation.


Finally, just this past weekend, Rome endured its own issues when the women’s singles final was scheduled at 11 pm on Saturday night, rather than be moved to the next day, due to multiple rain delays.

That created less than ideal playing conditions, along with a dearth of fans in the stadium, who ended up booing during the trophy ceremony perplexing both the champion Rybakina and the finalist Anhelina Kalinina.

The ceremony got even more awkward after Rybakina was prompted to speak before finalist Kalinina and then had to prompt the on-court officials to hand her her trophy.


Madrid tournament organizers later apologized for the snafus at their event. Regarding the Rome singles final, the WTA issued a statement defending the scheduling decision citing ongoing inclement weather as the main cause.


“It’s not the desire of the event nor the WTA to see a match go on as it did, but it was the right thing to do, a WTA spokesperson told Reuters in a statement.


After the last two weeks, players, commentators, tennis journalists, and fans took to social media to first complain and then try to understand why situations like these seem to occur more frequently at WTA events rather than ATP events.



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