Madrid Open: A Tournament Marred by Controversy Year After Year

The Madrid Open finds itself embroiled in controversy once more, reminiscent of last year’s backlash when doubles finalists and winners were denied podium speaking opportunities.

The current furor centers on allegations that the tournament is depriving women’s players of on-site practice time, instead instructing them to practice offsite between 9 am and 5 pm, under vastly different conditions. Ons Jabeur expressed her dismay during a post-match conference, stating, “I feel like we have a long way to go, especially here in Madrid and in Rome – in Europe in general. I feel they need to respect women more and they need to respect how we are playing.”

Despite the outcry, tournament director Feliciano Lopez contends that the event is actively working to improve. He highlighted that the Madrid Open was the first to offer equal prize money to both men and women. However, he conceded that there is room for improvement.

“I think we made a few mistakes last year that shouldn’t have happened. We learn from our mistakes, but I must emphasize that we were the first tournament to award the same prize money to women and men. So, I don’t believe it’s fair for anyone to suggest that we do not treat men and women equally. I think we are doing a great job in that regard,” Lopez remarked.

In 2023, the tournament was embroiled in the Cake-gate scandal, as Carlos Alcaraz received a significantly larger birthday cake during the event compared to Aryna Sabalenka.

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