'What Century Were They Living In': Pegula Slams Madrid Organizers After Silencing Her

'What Century Were They Living In': Pegula Slams Madrid Organizers After Silencing Her

by Zachary Wimer

Last last updated

Jessica Pegula and fellow WTA doubles finalist at the 2023 Madrid Open had a negative experience during the trophy ceremony, and now she reflected on it.

Despite organizing a very good tournament, it's been a very unfortunate week for the organizers of the 2023 Madrid Open. Everything boiled over when the WTA doubles finalists weren't allowed to speak after their final match, sparking the biggest controversy of the tournament.

The decision came after many complaints from the players, including the scheduling of the tournament, but also the infamous birthday cake saga, which saw women's world no. 2 Aryna Sabalenka get a much smaller cake than men's world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz.

But what happened after the women's doubles final was totally unacceptable and players immediately took to Twitter to share what they wanted to say. Naturally, once they came to Rome to attend the next WTA 1000 event, the Italian Open, they were asked about what they think about the whole situation and Jessica Pegula was one of the first players to speak.

"Yeah, what happened in Madrid, it was really disappointing. I know a lot of like what happened, detail leading up to the event, just because Vika and I are on players council. I had a feeling something was going to happen."

When the whole situation happened, Pegula didn't really know what to think, but looking back, she's surprised how the Madrid Open organizers didn't see the backlash coming, as the tennis community erupted almost immediately.

"Did I think we were not going to be able to speak, no. I've never heard of that, like, in my life. Even in a 10K challenger final you would speak. I don't know what century everyone was living in when they made that decision or how they actually had a conversation and decided, like, Wow, this is a great decision we're going to do and there's going to be no-backlash against this."

"To be honest, it kind of spoke for itself. We were upset when it happened, especially being told during the trophy ceremony we weren't going to be allowed to speak. We were kind of like, Well, I guess this just kind of proves a point. We didn't really do anything, and here we are. It kind of speaks for itself."

Despite being silenced and essentially not allowed to speak, Pegula wasn't concerned, because she knew that the decision not to let them speak, spoke for itself, and despite being disappointed, she knew the statement was made, but not the on that organizers intended.

"At the same time there was also that aspect where we were kind of like, Well, we don't have to say anything else. Everyone kind of picked up on it and was very disappointed. I mean, yeah, we'll see what happens. I don't really know what's going to happen after that or what decision is going to be made, statements or anything regarding that. It was just very disappointing. I think everyone kind of felt that way."

When asked about why does she think the organizers made the decision, the American admitted that it probably wasn't just one thing but series of actions that led them to making a very weird and controversial call.

"I think it was a buildup. There seemed to be a lot of drama in Madrid this year on a variety of different things. I think, yeah, there was just a buildup of a lot of tension. It just kind of got worse and worse and worse regarding a lot of issues that you guys see online, funny tweets or whatever. I think, yeah, that didn't help the situation."

Pegula herself doesn't even know what was the real reason, but she attributes it to more reasons. The American even shared that she wished the whole situation would be solved in a more mature way, but that didn't happen.

"I don't know if it was, like, the sole reason, but I think there were just a lot of things built up that led to that decision, which is unfortunate. I wish they could have handled it in a more mature, professional way. That's not what happened, so..."


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