Madrid Open Organisers Criticised For Using Models and Snubbing Ball Kids

Madrid Open Organisers Criticised For Using Models and Snubbing Ball Kids

by Alex Waite

Last updated

Madrid Open organisers are facing backlash for placing models on the centre court rather than using the more traditional ball kids.

In 2004, Romanian businessman Ion Tiriac decided to replace ball boys and girls with models, who wear tank tops and mini-skirts. At present, the models are only situated on the main court at La Caja Magica, while ball kids are used on the outer courts.

However, the ongoing use of models instead of ball kids has led to some criticism from spectators, who believe the move is sexist and objectifies women. In particular, one former ball girl at Wimbledon, Eliza Wastcoat, recently highlighted the stark differences between the more conservative clothing of ball kids compared to the more revealing attire of the centre court models.

Wastcoat is just one of several tennis enthusiasts and fans who have called out the outdated approach by the Madrid Open to keep the models instead of using the ball kids. Others have argued that the use of models on the main court is simply a publicity stunt to get viewers at the Madrid Open.

Even a Spanish government representative, Soledad Murillo, spoke of her disappointment in the approach and said the use of models:

"contributes to fomenting clear discrimination towards women who appear as simple objects of decoration and amusement”.

Models appear in all matches at the Manolo Santana Stadium and they were also present during the semifinal match between Carlos Alcaraz and Borna Coric that ended in favour of the home player.


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