'Unfair To Say We Don't Treat Women & Men Equally': Lopez Responds Amid Sexism Accusations

'Unfair To Say We Don't Treat Women & Men Equally': Lopez Responds Amid Sexism Accusations

by Nurein Ahmed

Madrid Open director Feliciano Lopez has countered criticism from WTA players over the unfair treatment of women at the tournament.

The Madrid Open is a joint tournament running on both tours and one of few in the 1000 category that offers equal prize money for all participants on the ATP and WTA tours.

But the tournament organizers, including its head honcho Lopez, have been at the center of controversy. Last year, the women's doubles finals marred the tournament's brand.

The former ATP pro, who has held the role of tournament director since 2019, is reported to have issued the directive to abandon the post-match speeches by the four women who contested the final.

It was only after the tournament that Victoria Azarenka (one-half of the winning team) was able to stomach the situation and express her feelings, calling the decision "unacceptable."

The runners-up, Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula made their intentions clear on social media. The tournament had no option but to officially apologize for the circus that had created tension among WTA stakeholders.

Recently, three-time Grand Slam finalist Ons Jabeur believes the tournament is not doing enough to promote women's tennis. Lopez has refuted the claim.

He has now responded to last year's incident during an interview with Sky Sports. He delved into fresh accusations of sexism by WTA doubles player Ellen Perez, who revealed that women's doubles players were not permitted to train on-site between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

"I think we did a few things last year that shouldn't have happened, but we learned from our mistakes. But I have to say we were among the first tournaments to pay same prize money to women and men. I don't think it's fair to say that someone might think we are not treating women and men equally."

"We are doing a great job on that matter. I understand the frustration on certain things because there is a lot that can happen with transportation and practice sessions, but we try to be equal and fair all the time. I think we have to move on and try to be fair to everyone. Last year, I have to accept that the issue with the doubles, we apologized. And we moved on, and everyone's happy."


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