The Madrid Open has seen better days as the event made a few questionable calls this week with this one being the most shocking one.
On Sunday, May 7th, La Caja Magica in Madrid saw Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff play Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia in the WTA doubles final. The match was a straight-sets victory for the latter pairing however something truly bizarre happened during the trophy ceremony.
Neither team was given a chance to address the crowd which is how typically these ceremonies go, as seen during the singles final day before. Both the winning player or team as well as the losing team usually gets to address the crowd but that didn't happen here. It surprised the players and many fans when Gauff took to Twitter after the match.
Wasn’t given the chance to speak after the final today. But thank you to the fans for supporting us and women’s tennis this week! Thanks Jessica Pegula for always keeping it fun on the court and hitting unreal clutch shots hahahaha Lastly, big congratulations Vika and Bia.
Pegula quote tweeted her remark adding only a few emojis that convey surprise about the move. Ons Jabeur was another player who took note of the situation as she and Pegula contested the singles final last year and both addressed the crowd. She called it both unfortunate and unacceptable.
So unfortunate that you were not given a chance to address the crowd and your opponents. This is sad and unacceptable.
Many others took note of the situation calling it shocking, upsetting, and misogynistic especially since this didn't happen with the ATP doubles. Another player participating in the WTA doubles final, who is also a mother, Victoria Azarenka stated:
Hard to explain to Leo that mommy isn’t able to say hello to him at the trophy ceremony.
The 2023 Madrid Open's organizers had faced criticism already this year. It was initially prompted by a dispute over a birthday cake, and they were also criticized for using models rather than ball kids in matches.
Even journalist Ben Rothenberg took to Twitter to share his point of view and how it isn't the first situation when WTA players or event were somehow hindered in the Spanish capital. He wrote:
"The Mutua Madrid Open choosing to silence the women’s doubles finalists (ie not letting them speak during the trophy ceremony) because they’re butthurt over Cakegate and some glancing criticisms yesterday is truly one of the wilder miscalculations I’ve seen in tennis lately."
"It was never just about cakes. Madrid has a long, hard-earned reputation among players (and other observant people) for treating the women as second-rate. It’s never felt like an equal prize money event when you’re watching or at the site; Tiriac even sued to make it unequal."
"I have thought for years that WTA should facilitate a swap of the Madrid sanction with either Canada or Cincinnati; unlike Madrid those aren’t equal prize money tournaments, but their management culture as combined ATP-WTA events is far more equitable."