ATP, WTA, tournament organizers and players all have to work together but sometimes, their objectives may differ. While tournament organizers want to make the event good mostly for the spectators to generate profit, players want to have good conditions to be able to compete at their best level.
Therefore, there's always an ongoing discussion about scheduling as players don't want to have late night matches, while on the other hand, it's something that tournaments still keep pushing as that's when the most fans usually come.
However, the recent Madrid Open was overshadowed by another incident. The WTA doubles finalists were denied a speech during the trophy ceremony and that's something that shouldn't happen. Jessica Pegula was one of the players on the podium, and as she's also part of the WTA player's council, she was asked about the situation ahead of the 2023 Italian Open in Rome.
"Yeah, I mean, out of all the drama, I think our end goal is to figure out solutions, for us on our side, to make recommendations of, This is what everyone is telling us, this is what's happening. We did have several meetings with them at the beginning. I think the ATP council, and I was part of WTA council, meeting with tournament directors. There were good conversations. They were fine."
The American No. 1 highlighted that while there are always conversations with tournament organizers, it may be difficult to plan everything ahead as there are some things that change as the event goes on.
"I think they're aware. Hopefully next year we can kind of prepare in advance. I think sometimes we get there and there's problems. Sometimes it's too late to really fix things when everything is already up and running."
But denying a speech certainly isn't something that players even considered as possible. Therefore, Pegula wants to see the positives of the negative experience and take it as a great example of something that should never happen in the future discussions.
"I'm hoping, yeah, that out of what happened, even though it wasn't great, that we can, yeah, come to just, like, some sort of decision-making process where we can start preparing for next year. Okay, these problems cannot happen again and this needs to be changed."
"I think everyone, it seems like everyone notices is, so I don't know why it keeps kind of going unchanged. Hopefully this was kind of like the tipping point like, We need to see some change for next year."
Although WTA players were vocal about the tournament's scheduling this year, it was different during last year's edition. Alexander Zverev was the player who had to play late night matches and also talked about it, but no one denied him a speech after losing in the final to Carlos Alcaraz.
"I remember last year, the men, Zverev, complaining about late matches having to play Alcaraz. It's hard there. They say, which is true, a lot of people with the late matches, they eat at like 11 p.m. It's kind of a cultural difference, too, which is on their side I think fair statement. At the same time there has to be, like, meet halfway kind of thing."
Pegula then went on to emphasize that the player's council will surely talk to tournament organizers in order to prevent similar things from happening again in the future.
"I think hopefully we can get there. But I know as players council, yeah, we do a lot with the tournaments and stuff like that, making recommendations for the next years, what things should change. We'll definitely have that conversation with them."