The Women’s Tennis Association has issued an apology to players for the subpar conditions in Cancún. They acknowledge that they have listened to players’ concerns and are taking steps to improve the situation.

The Women’s Tennis Association has acknowledged that this year’s tour finals is not without flaws and has indicated potential changes to how the circuit is run, following criticism from top players about their treatment.

According to a letter obtained by Sports Illustrated, WTA CEO Steve Simon explained that the decision to choose Cancún, Mexico as the location for the prestigious tournament was influenced by various complex factors.

“I acknowledge your dissatisfaction with being in Cancún and want you to know that your concerns have been acknowledged,” he stated while expressing gratitude towards the players for participating in the conference at the Mexican location. “We are aware of the difficulties presented by this event and the WTA takes full responsibility.”

The location for the tournament, which had a budget of $9 million (£7.3 million), was decided to be Cancún with less than two months’ notice before it began on October 29th. This decision came after the possibility of holding it in Saudi Arabia was discussed. The finals will feature the top eight singles players and doubles teams as they conclude the season.

Aryna Sabalenka, currently ranked as the top player in the world, expressed dissatisfaction with the court conditions and organization at the highly esteemed event, stating that she felt disrespected by the standards.

The grievances expressed by top players in the WTA have highlighted the general discontent with the management of the tour. According to The Athletic, a letter was sent to Simon by 21 of the world’s best players, outlining their concerns. The players are seeking increased pay, a more accommodating schedule to alleviate physical and mental strain, better childcare options, and representation from the independent Professional Tennis Players Association on the WTA council.

The WTA’s correspondence stated that it will contemplate various suggestions to decrease the required involvement of top players in specific tournaments at their upcoming board meeting. Additionally, they informed the players that numerous other concerns mentioned in their letter will be evaluated.

Simon stated that significant progress has been made and there is a strong agreement in the matters you have mentioned and the ongoing efforts. The WTA has not yet responded to a comment request.

During the game, Jessica Pegula extended her string of wins to eight and secured a place in the semi-finals by defeating Maria Sakkari with a score of 6-3, 6-2 on Thursday evening. Pegula, who is seeded fifth, has yet to drop a set in Cancún. In her match against Sakkari, the American excelled at returning second serves, winning 11 out of 19 of her own and 19 out of 30 of Sakkari’s (who only won eight out of 19).

Jessica Pegula hits a backhand return during her win over Maria Sakkari

Pegula committed nearly half the number of unforced errors compared to Sakkari – 18 to Sakkari’s 35 – during a windy evening with intermittent rain. The 29-year-old Pegula is set to compete in the semi-finals on Saturday.

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“It’s a great achievement to get through a 3-0 score,” she stated. “Especially after last year, when it was the opposite.”

Sakkari, ranked No 9, was already eliminated before playing Pegula; she lost all three matches, not winning a set. “That’s not the way I wanted my season to end,” Sakkari said. “I think that physically and mentally, I was paying a toll for how much I travelled and how much I played and how emotional this season was.”

The match between Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, originally scheduled for Thursday night, had to be postponed multiple times due to rain. As a result, it was set to resume on Friday morning. Sabalenka, who had previously defeated Rybakina in the Australian Open final, was leading 6-2, 3-5 when the game was halted.

If Sabalenka, who is 25 years old, manages to stay undefeated during round-robin play or reaches the final, she will maintain her position as the top-ranked player.


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