Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka lashed out at the relevant governing bodies of professional tennis for making a farce out of the scheduling issues.
The Belarusian star went into full-rant mode after her opening-round win over Barbora Krejcikova. As the highest-profile WTA Player Council member, Azarenka was visibly upset that issues to do with players' rights are not addressed appropriately, and it takes ages to handle players' grievances.
Azarenka admits she's gone the extra mile to uphold the interests of her peers at heart, but is not seeing her hard work yield any dividends. At times she's questioning if she's even making any tangible difference. While she is aware a lot is happening behind the scenes, it is high time it translates into results.
"I absolutely lost it yesterday because we work so hard in the Players Council and I just felt so frustrated, like I’m not making a difference and I put a lot of time, a lot of effort and I’m very direct."
"I try to be reasonable, I try to compromise, I try to create ideas and we are moving at the slowest pace to get things done. There are some things behind the scenes that we’re working on, but it’s time to get something concrete done."
Azarenka then goes ahead and talks about the controversial scheduling issues that overshadowed the tennis at last week's Canadian Open. Azarenka admits it's blatantly unacceptable that players don't even know when they're going to play and what time slot during the day or night.
"This is the only sport in the world where you don’t know when you’re going to play. It was 11 PM yesterday and I didn’t know when I’m going to play. This is unacceptable in any shape or form… I look at it as a player, and it’s ridiculous. look at it as a fan, and I don’t know which matches I’m going to go watch because I have no clue, unless you’re very fanatical, but we need to appeal to a bigger crowd to watch our sport."
Azarenka concurred with Iga Swiatek's proposition for an earlier start time for night session matches. She is of the view that late-night starts or finishes are not benefitting all the stakeholders, be it the tournament, the players, or the fans.
"These late finishes aren’t benefitting anyone. They’re not benefitting fans, tournaments, or broadcasting because there are no primetime spots, and it’s impossible to find tennis on TV or anywhere. You’re looking for it like it’s some treasure."