Gauff Believes Tournament Organizers Should Take Criticism Amid Latest Controversy

Gauff Believes Tournament Organizers Should Take Criticism Amid Latest Controversy

by Balasz Virag

Last last updated

Coco Gauff voiced her opinion on tournament organizers' responsibility to address criticism amid recent controversy over players' speeches.

At the 2023 Madrid Open, WTA doubles finalists were not allowed to speak after the match and it made everyone angry. Gauff was one of the first players that took to Twitter to share what she wanted to say and she was soon followed also by the others.

Since the situation was really controversial and everyone in the tennis world has been talking about it over the past few days, the young American was asked about it ahead of the upcoming Italian Open where she's set to compete.

"Yeah, for me, like, I'm going to say it wasn't about the speech, about what was said. I mean, obviously we lost, so it probably didn't mean as much as to Vika and Bea, who won. It wasn't so much about me wanting to speak and speak to the crowd."

Gauff made it clear that, for her, the problem was not about the speeches themselves, but rather the principle behind the decision. By denying the players a platform to address the crowd, she feels that the tournament organizers may be trying to stifle criticism or dissent.

"I guess I do think the player should address the crowd, people who came and supported the event. But I think it was just more about the principle behind it, that in future cases, I don't know if someone, maybe me or somebody else criticizes the organization or tournament, maybe deeper than what was said, I don't know, maybe racism, homophobia, something like that. You can't just cut, no speech, no nothing. You have to take those criticisms."

Gauff pointed out that in other sports, athletes often call out their organizations, and there is nothing wrong with that. She believes that it is the responsibility of those in charge to maintain professionalism and handle criticism with grace.

"You look at other sporting events, a lot of people call out their organizations. Nothing wrong with that. I think the professional thing to do is keep things as normal. In tennis, we are probably one of the few sports where we give a speech."

She emphasized that it is essential for tournament organizers not to sweep these issues under the rug but instead face them head-on and take the necessary steps to address them.

"I don't care about giving the speech, but I'm just saying we should respect that type of thing and it shouldn't happen again in the future, especially when the other events got speeches as well. I think it's just about the principle behind that."

The worst thing for the teenager was probably the fact that according to what was said to her, the decision was made based on a situation that didn't even involve her. Essentially, she was denied a speech just because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I was told it was a situation that didn't involve me that happened. I'm not going to go into that situation. People probably know what it was. But, yeah, that's what I was told. I said that situation for me was not deep enough to not have a trophy ceremony."

Once again, disappointed Gauff emphasized that the whole controversy doesn't lie behind the fact that they were not able to talk and thank the people that they wanted to thank, but rather the principle.

"I think that we worked hard to get to that final. It's not about the speech. I have a lot of finals, so it's not about that. It's more about the principle behind it, so this can't happen again for future girls, take the opportunity away from them."


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