MATCH POINT: As Aryna Sabalenka complains about court surfaces at Mexican Open - players deserve better at tour finals

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October is nan period erstwhile tennis players usually kick astir nan magnitude of nan season, a clip of weary minds and aching bodies which deficiency nan attraction of November’s year-end events.

These moans tin beryllium undermined erstwhile immoderate of nan aforesaid players commencement turning up playing lucrative accumulation events successful far-flung places during nan precious fewer weeks erstwhile they are expected to beryllium off.

This twelvemonth has been markedly different successful that nan players’ gripes person been centred connected matters regarding playing conditions — and these should elicit much sympathy.


The men, successful particular, person been irked astir nan truth they are perpetually being asked to play pinch different types of balls week to week, starring to injuries astatine a clip of twelvemonth erstwhile they are astir apt much vulnerable.

Meanwhile, nan elite 8 women astatine nan WTA Finals successful Cancun are unhappy pinch nan tribunal aboveground there. World No 1 Aryna Sabalenka has led nan chorus of disapproval, accusing nan WTA Tour of disrespecting her and others owed to nan authorities of nan hastily laid tribunal aft nan precocious determination to clasp it successful Mexico. She pointed retired its inconsistent bounce and declared she felt ‘unsafe’ moving connected it.

World No 1 Aryna Sabalenka has complained astir nan hastily laid tribunal surfaces successful Mexico

Sabalenka pointed retired that nan courts person an inconsistent bounce and she felt ‘unsafe’ connected it

Let america time off speech that Sabalenka, of Belarus, has overmuch to beryllium grateful for this season. While different sports took a overmuch tougher statement connected athletes from her state because of its domiciled successful pulverising Ukraine, nan WTA Tour person bent complete backwards to let her and Russian peers to transportation connected arsenic normal.

Irrespective of that, it is unacceptable that nan circuit finals are not played successful conditions that meet nan highest standards.

When it comes to nan balls, this has been an rumor for years. In a business emblematic of nan deficiency of joined-up reasoning successful nan sport, individual tournaments presently do their ain woody pinch a shot shaper and truthful players find themselves contending pinch thing different each nan time, adding to nan accent connected their bodies. In nan women’s case, I understand that nan US Open is already group to reverse this year’s determination to usage nan aforesaid heavier work balls arsenic nan men, aft a slew of complaints.

ATP Tour members person been vociferous connected nan matter of late, pinch physios reporting an uptick successful wrist and elbow problems and three-time Grand Slam victor Stan Wawrinka among those expressing their exasperation.

‘Can’t judge successful 2023 it is still happening!’ he tweeted past week, illustrating his constituent pinch pictures of nan different tubes of balls he has been utilizing successful 4 consecutive weeks.

The men successful peculiar are claiming they are getting injuries astatine a clip erstwhile they're vulnerable

The tour, however, constituent retired that location are aggregate dilemmas they are dealing pinch if they tried to enforce a much cosmopolitan shot connected tournaments.

One is that they would suffer money from nan deals, and different is that favouring definite manufacturers would earnestly harm nan business of others, pinch nan consequent threat of ineligible action. Yet improvements could beryllium made. For a start, nan balls person broadly go excessively slow and fluffy, contributing to nan strain of ever longer matches.

And surely much co-ordination could beryllium enforced connected events successful a peculiar plaything of nan circuit, truthful nan changes could beryllium lessened.

As for nan aboveground issues successful Mexico, it would thief if nan hapless WTA could benignant retired their almanac truthful that nan finals venue is not announced conscionable 52 days earlier it is owed to start, arsenic was nan lawsuit this year.

There are immoderate awesome lesser aliases extracurricular courts astatine Masters events — Pietrangeli astatine nan Italian Open is possibly nan astir famous, and Court 3 astatine Madrid is simply a individual favourite. 

There are a fewer shockers arsenic well, and 2 of them tin beryllium recovered astatine Bercy this week, beyond nan main arena. 

Courts 1 and 2 successful this area of Paris are mini and gloomy pinch a debased roof, and are hopeless for television. Court No 1 is utilized arsenic an crystal rink nan remainder of nan year, and nan different has nan emotion of a colony hall.

Danny proved a agleam spark 

Danny Sapsford, right, shakes hands pinch Pete Sampras astatine nan 1999 Wimbledon Championship

When Danny Sapsford bowed retired of tennis astatine Wimbledon 1999 — he made nan 3rd information earlier losing to Pete Sampras (left) — nan Briton joked that he would now beryllium spending much clip doing his garden. 

An enterprising journalist presented him pinch a pitchfork nan time earlier his brushwood pinch nan champion.

Except Danny has done a batch much than thin to his roses. Next period nan kindness he founded, Bright Ideas for Tennis, celebrates its 10th birthday. 

The organisation presently uses 80 venues successful nan UK providing free tennis for much than 1,000 group per week, focusing mostly connected those pinch learning, sensory and beingness disabilities. 

If you would for illustration to find retired much sojourn www.brightideasfortennis.org

The pre-tournament image of nan 8 players astatine nan WTA Finals had an different look pinch Iga Swiatek wearing a reddish dress, and her rivals each successful white. 

Nobody could show nan world No 2 to alteration her attire to fresh successful and nan Pole had her outfit designed respective months ago. 

It will beryllium absorbing to spot what nan players are permitted to deterioration for this yearly photograph of them each looking glamorous if, arsenic has been suggested, this arena ends up successful Saudi Arabia adjacent year.

The pre-tournament image taken earlier nan WTA Finals arsenic Iga Swiatek was dressed successful red

Postcard from a life connected tour 

Bercy has a very different vibe from Roland Garros, and not conscionable because 1 comes successful precocious autumn and 1 successful nan precocious spring. 

The Paris Masters is connected nan eastbound broadside of nan superior successful a little chichi area, but an upside is its comparative proximity to nan Marais, 1 of nan city’s astir magical neighbourhoods. 

Once known arsenic nan Jewish quarter, it is now much identified pinch its museums, shops and restaurants. 

No sojourn is complete without having a tipple astatine achingly hep area barroom La Perle, which besides remains a spot wherever you tin portion a java for conscionable 1 euro — provided you guidelines astatine its old-style zinc bar.


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