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Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova became the latest leading name to criticise the WTA after losing her opening match to Iga Swiatek at the WTA Finals.
World number one Aryna Sabalenka said after her first match on Sunday in Mexico that she felt “disrespected” over the condition of the hastily-laid temporary court in Cancun.
Following a 7-6 (3) 6-0 defeat by second seed Swiatek, Vondrousova wrote on Instagram: “My first WTA Finals is not at all what I imagined. We work hard all year to get to the finals and in the end it’s just a disappointment.
“(The) stadium is not at all ready for the matches and to me it feels like the people from WTA are absolutely not interested in how we who are supposed to play on that court feel. We do not feel that anyone listens to us and is interested in our opinions. Very sad.”
Swiatek added to the criticism, saying in her on-court interview that the surface was “not comfortable” while she also appealed for more fans to attend the matches.
For the third year in a row, the host of the prestigious tournament – which features the top eight players of the season – was only decided less than two months prior to the event.
The WTA said in a statement: “We’re pleased to host the WTA Finals in Cancun for the first time and worked hard to construct a stadium where the world’s top eight women’s tennis players and doubles teams compete head-to-head.
“The team has worked diligently on an expedited timeline amid weather challenges to ensure the stadium and court meet our strict performance standards.”
Vondrousova led Swiatek 5-2 in the opening set but the Pole, who could reclaim top spot in the rankings from Sabalenka this week, won four games in a row and dominated the second set.
Monday’s other match saw US Open champion Coco Gauff need less than an hour to beat Ons Jabeur 6-0 6-1 for her first WTA Finals victory.
On her debut last year the teenager lost all six matches she played in singles and doubles, while she and Jessica Pegula were again beaten in doubles on Sunday.
But Gauff was emphatic from the start against Wimbledon finalist Jabeur, winning the first seven games before an hour-long rain delay.
Jabeur finally got on the board after the restart before the American, who revealed she is no longer working with coach Pere Riba, completed the win in 57 minutes.
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t my decision,” Gauff said of the split from the Spaniard. “But we had to end the partnership. If it was up to me, I would have loved to have him here.
“But things happen. Life happens. So no bad terms on our end. I still think that he was a great guy. And obviously he did amazing things for me personally and also for my game.”
Gauff is still working with renowned American coach Brad Gilbert, who guided her to the title in New York alongside Riba.