The 2023 Canadian Open in Montreal this past week has generated controversy in the wake of late-night starts to matches, leaving some players at a disadvantage in subsequent rounds. A lot of that has been attributed to heavy rains, which interfered with the daily schedule and caused matches to be suspended.
This, in turn, resulted in a few players having to slug out two matches on the same day. And in the case of Liudmila Samsonova, she ended up playing four matches in the span of three days, and physical toil overwhelmed her in the final, where she lost 6-1, 6-0.
Sloane Stephens believes uncontrollable factors like rain are beyond their control, but says better scheduling at the start of the week might have benefitted the players towards the end of the week. She adds that WTA and tournament organizers need to find solutions to mitigate the issue.
"Yeah, I don't know what the secret is, but obviously the tour has to do a better job with scheduling. We have to find a solution for the late matches, there being unfair timing for people not playing at the same time. There are just a lot of things that need to be fixed in terms of scheduling and how we manage that, because there is obviously always going to be someone that's at a disadvantage, as we saw in the Montreal final."
"I mean, it's not something that we can control, but in the actuality of things, if the scheduling was better perhaps at the beginning of the week it may have made a difference towards the end of the week. Just giving players the best opportunity to perform and do their best comes down a lot to the tour and the scheduling."
Stephens has been a member of the WTA Players' Council since 2019. In her stint, she has learned to be patient, but talked about the stressful nature of a job she says is a lot of work and is not too passionate about her role. Nevertheless, the American star has always treated one player's problem as a collective issue and always took stemming issues up her chin.
"I think they have been pretty good (emerging issues), but I think it's definitely our problem. It's not my problem or your problem. I think being on the player council has taught me a lot of patience, I think amongst all of us, everyone on the council."
"I would say no (if she likes her role). It's a lot of work. I do care deeply about my council position, and I do like to help. It's just my personality, my nature. I think all of us on council are all pretty similar, like, we like to help, we want to make the tour better, want to leave it better than when we arrived here."