Chaos and Discontent at WTA Masters Cup as Rain Ruins Semifinal Match

Chaos and Discontent at WTA Masters Cup as Rain Ruins Semifinal Match

Sabalenka protects herself from the rain with towels during the semifinal against Swiatek.HENRY ROMERO (REUTERS)

The story was born badly, improvised, in a hurry and in an arbitrary and ill-advised setting, for no reason. This Masters Cup ends even worse, taking into account the sequence of adversities that have occurred since the tennis players landed in Cancun last week: an unfinished court, the participants barely rehearsed, stagnant water, a disastrous surface, half-empty stands and strong gusts of wind that have completely ruined the show. As if that were not enough, water and more water. The intense rains this Saturday finished off the nonsense and prevented the two best in the world today, Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek, from playing the second semi-final after the barely contested one between Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff. Consequently, quite a mess. A full-blown blush. The absurd.

An undeserved finale of the season that puts the president and CEO of the WTA, Steve Simon, in the spotlight. The American, at the head of the body that regulates the women’s circuit since 2015, opted for Cancun as the venue just a month in advance and now all eyes are on him and his team, overwhelmed by the events. The players’ complaints are accompanied by facts. The party that is not a party. Pegula and Gauff were able to compete, not without breaks, but the great duel of the day was immediately interrupted, when Sabalenka and Swiatek – head to head for the throne at the end of the year – had only played three games. It was raining and raining, so the organization made the (irremediable) determination to suspend the action and the funnel generated underlines what was suspected: Simon and his people have slipped.

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Not just anyone, but a certain Martina Navratilova. A couple of days before, on the field, the legendary former player – 67 years old and with 18 great individual titles on her record – responded at a press conference and downplayed the participants’ protests about the irregularity of the surface. However, on this occasion it was more than forceful. Speak clearly and point.

“It shouldn’t have come [la elección] so late. There was a sequence of bad decisions. Steve Simon has been the boss for nine years and here we are… Coming to Cancun during the rainy season? You can’t expect it to not rain at a top-level event like this. You have to accept the bad decisions you made,” he said, then going further: “Maybe the time has come for new leadership. This being a women’s association and being involved for so long, from the beginning, we have only had three women at the helm. I think it’s time. I hope that when we have a new leader, it will be a woman. There are many who are qualified for the position. “It will be difficult for Steve to continue, everything points in another direction.”

The final, on Monday

The sad outcome of the tournament is accompanied by the tension between the president and the professionals, who demand a series of improvements from the WTA rector that, they say, have not been satisfied. The tennis players talk about salaries, schedules, formats and other conditions. The distancing is evident and two days before the Polish Swiatek anticipated that they were going to “pressure”, while the group present in Cancún launched a battery of questions into the air, exposing that the election has been meaningless in substance and form: Why Cancún (without any tennis tradition) and at this point, in the middle of the storm and hurricane season? Why a track for only 4,200 spectators and uncovered, then exposed to inclement weather?

The locals do not seem to be too happy either, as they do not fully understand the benefit that an investment that ranges between 14 and 15 million dollars can bring, according to the co-director of the event, Gustavo Santoscoy Arriaga, in statements to El Economista. The organizers’ estimate was that between 40,000 and 45,000 fans would attend the tournament, but throughout the week the court has barely registered half or a third of the entry, if not a minimal presence in the doubles matches.

Neither party is happy, and now the WTA is trying to get everything resolved in a way of running away. For now, as established in the official program, the matches will resume this Sunday, starting at 12:30 local time (6:30 p.m. Spanish time). Sabalenka and Swiatek would take to the court no earlier than 4:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m.), in the best of cases, without anyone being able to offer any guarantee since the clouds will still be there, threatening. And, in the event that they are benevolent and do not download, the circumstance arises that the finalist Pegula could have to play several matches in the same day, since she also competes in the doubles modality with Gauff. The individual final will be held on Monday at 10:30 p.m. Spanish time.

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2023-11-05 04:52:10
#WTA #Finals #Rain #finishes #Cancun #Masters #Cup #Tennis #Sports

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