After the doubles final in which Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula to claim the WTA 1000 title in the Spanish capital, none of the players were allowed to speak after the match, causing a major controversy.
It came after a series of comments from players amid many bad decisions that the tournament organizers made this year. One of the complaints from players discussed the tournament's scheduling, while others weren't happy with the birthday cake difference between Aryna Sabalenka and Carlos Alcaraz.
Once players left Madrid and arrived in Rome, they were soon asked about the whole situation at the press conferences, as Pegula slammed them, wondering what century were they living in, while Gauff suggested that they should be able to take criticism.
Both players revealed that they also received an apology from the tournament organizers, but that may not have been enough in the public eye as the CEO of the Madrid Open, Gerard Tsobanian, made the decision to issue a statement and an apology.
"We sincerely apologise to all the players and fans who expect more of the Mutua Madrid Open tournament. Not giving our women’s doubles finalists the chance to address their fans at the end of the match was unacceptable and we have apologised directly to Victoria, Beatriz, Coco, and Jessica."
As Pegula hinted, when she said that she will have to have a conversation with the tournament organizers as a WTA Player's Council member, Tsobanian confirmed that they will talk to the WTA to review their protocols in order to prevent similar situations from happening.
"We are working internally and with the WTA to review our protocols and are committed to improving our process moving forward. We made a mistake and this will not ever happen again."
Despite the apology and public statement, the damage has been done and it remains to be seen how the players approach the event next year. The likes of Ons Jabeur said that they want to fight for better treatment for players, as players feel that situations like this should never occur on the professional tennis tour.
Moreover, despite the apology, one thing that fans demand is a reason. According to Gauff's words, she was given a reason, but it's yet to be announced publicly as many are wondering what prompted the 2023 Madrid Open organizers to make such a harsh move.
For now, players can accept Tsobanian's apology and hope that the tournament organizers will approach next year's event responsibly and there won't be any need for similar measures or decisions from their side.