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    14 May 2023

    Disappointment for Jessica Pegula as Madrid Open Women’s Doubles Finalists Denied Opportunity to Speak Out

    Jessica Pegula Criticizes Madrid Open Organizers for Denying Speeches to Doubles Finalists

    Tennis player Jessica Pegula has expressed her disappointment towards the organizers of the 2023 Madrid Open. This comes after she and other doubles finalists were denied the opportunity to make presentation speeches.

    Missing Speeches at Presentation Ceremony Raises Concerns from Players and Fans Alike

    Pegula, along with Coco Gauff, lost in straight sets on Sunday’s final against Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia. While all singles winners and men’s doubles champions addressed the crowd during their trophy ceremony, organisers refused to allow speeches from the women’s doubles finalists.
    I don’t know what century everyone was living in when they made that decision […] It spoke for itself. We were upset when it happened and told during the trophy ceremony we weren’t able to speak. It kind of proved a point.”
    Australian Jessica Pegula, who is currently third-ranked in singles world rankings, added that “in a $10k final you would speak” before describing her amazement at such an inexplicable decision by tournament officials.

    Madrid Open Organizer Refuses To Comment on Decision Not To Allow Finalist Speeches

    The players’ association executive director Ahmad Nassar said that denying finalist speeches equates to “an interference with the right to freedom of expression” and that the tennis establishment had a duty to address it. Though repeatedly contacted by various media outlets, Madrid Open organizers have refused to give a statement regarding what has become an increasingly controversial decision.

    Criticism Over Alleged Sexist Treatment

    The controversy surrounding Madrid Open goes further than just denying finalist speeches; there are also allegations of sexist treatment towards female players.
    • In Sunday’s final between Carlos Alcaraz and Jan-Lennard Struff, ball girls wore different outfits after complaints about their crop tops and short skirts. The ball boys for women’s matches wore baggier polo shirts while sporting longer shorts compared to their female counterparts.
    • A birthday cake incident was also cited as an example where women players were treated differently. While Spain’s world number two Alcaraz received a three-tier cake for his 20th birthday after winning his semi-final on centre court, Belarus’ world number two Sabalenka received a more modest cake when she turned 25 on Friday – without having any match scheduled.
    “Couldn’t be more accurate on the treatment.”

    Tennis Players Decry Misogyny at Tennis Events As Fans Weigh in With Support Online

    The issues raised have led many tennis fans around the world to support calls for gender equality in sports events like never before, with many asserting that discrimination should not exist in this day and age.

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