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Tennis-Sabalenka Slams WTA For Court Conditions In Cancun – News18

Last Updated: October 31, 2023, 03:30 IST

World number one Aryna Sabalenka said she did not feel safe playing on the newly-constructed tennis courts in Cancun, Mexico, where the season-ending WTA Finals got underway on Sunday and put the blame squarely on the WTA.

โ€œIโ€™m happy that I was able to stay focused tonight, overcome the conditions, and play well,โ€ Sabalenka said in an Instagram post Sunday night after throttling Maria Sakkari 6-0 6-1 on the opening day of group play.

โ€œI have to say though that I am very disappointed with the WTA and the experience so far at the WTA Finals. As I said in my press conference tonight, as a player I really feel disrespected by the WTA. I think most of us do. This is not the level of organization we expect for the Finals.

โ€œTo be honest, I donโ€™t feel safe moving on this court a lot of the time, the bounce is not consistent at all, and we werenโ€™t able to practice on this court until yesterday for the first time. Itโ€™s just not acceptable to me with so much on the line and so much at stake.โ€

Estadio Paradisus was only finished the weekend before the start of the prestigious tournament, which features the top eight singles players and doubles teams in the world.

In an email to Reuters, the WTA said it was pleased to host the Finals in Cancun for the first time and that the organizers put a great deal of effort into getting the stadium ready on time.

โ€œThe team has worked diligently on an expedited timeline amid weather challenges to ensure the stadium and court meet our strict performance standards,โ€ the WTA said.ย 

โ€œWe look forward to this week ahead and playing in front of the energetic fans here in Cancun.โ€

Sabalenka, who initially raised her concerns with the courts in a pre-tournament interview and again at her post match press conference, stressed in her Instagram post that her issue was solely with the WTA.

โ€œI definitely want to show my appreciation for the local tournament organizers, everyone that built the court at the last minute, and everyone thatโ€™s working here at the event,โ€ she said.

โ€œI know itโ€™s not their fault and I want them to know, as well as all the Mexican fans, that I love them and appreciate them. Iโ€™m very happy to be in Mexico, Iโ€™m just upset with the WTA and this situation.โ€

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Reuters)

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