After a season full of irregularities, the Cancun Masters Cup is the tip of the Iceberg in the fatigue of women’s tennis, which has no qualms about raising its voice against the CEO of the WTA, Steve Simon. “In 2024 we will have many more mandatory tournaments, which will have a huge negative impact on our health and well-being,” complains Iga Swiatek, world number two, who is proud of the unity of the players and trusts that the pressure of group make changes occur and reach meeting points where everyone benefits. The Pole is one of the eight tennis players on the women’s professional circuit who are fighting to win a masters tournament that still does not have a fixed venue and was the subject of criticism for the state of the facilities a few days before its start.
«I am very disappointed with the WTA. I feel like he disrespects me. Me and the majority. I don’t feel safe moving on the court, the bounce of the ball is not regular. “They are not the best conditions to play.” Aryna Sabalenka complained about not having been able to step onto the playing field until a day before her participation in Mexico. A scenario that does not seem up to par with the best in the world. The Belarusian is one of the 20 players – according to The Athletic – who sign a letter demanding an immediate improvement regarding the conditions of the circuit.
What the players ask for is a little more consideration for their work and what they represent, but there are also much more specific things. They demand a salary improvement, a more flexible and sustainable schedule that allows physical and mental well-being – they criticize having to play at night and without an audience -, greater support for those mothers who have to take care of their children, as well as better representation within the Players Council. This letter, by the way, was sent this past October 5, and – according to the same medium – they are still waiting for a response.
«We worked hard all year to get here and it is a disappointment. The stadium is not ready for the matches and I think the WTA people are not at all interested in how we feel. “No one listens to us or is interested in our opinions,” said Marketa Vondrousova, who is currently number six in the world ranking. The Czech, along with the rest of the tennis players, regret that the Cancun venue was not confirmed until the beginning of September, just like last year, and that the Masters Cup has become an improvised stage. If between 2014 and 2018 she managed to settle in Singapore, then she moved from Shenzhen (China) to Guadalajara (Mexico), passing through Fort Worth (United States) before arriving at the current stage. This contrasts with the Masters Cup being based from 2009 to 2020 in London, and from 2021 to 2025 being held in Turin.
Tennis players are tired of not receiving the treatment they deserve, and Cancún has broken the camel’s back for the women’s circuit. The temporary court in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo – with capacity for 4,000 people, in a luxury hotel on the edge of the Caribbean Sea – has been the subject of criticism not only for the lack of acclimatization of the players, a half-built court a few days before its start or the strength of the wind in the area, but also sand sneaks onto the slopes.
«The conditions of the tournament are being very complicated, today the wind almost blew my racket away. The most difficult thing is to control your emotions at certain moments, it is very easy to fall into frustration and start blaming everything that is happening around you,” Ons Jabeur, the seventh best player on the planet, criticized after her first two games in Cancun. The feeling of the Tunisian, like the rest of her teammates, is one of improvisation and lack of respect on the part of the WTA, which last June announced that it had designed a plan – ten years in advance – with the aim of reducing the differences with men’s tennis.