T365 Recall: When the Madrid Masters used models as ball girls
As Formula 1 does away with grid girls, T365 looks back at the time when the Madrid Masters perhaps ignored “modern day societal norms”.
F1 will no longer have grid girls at races as the sport’s owners Liberty Media says it “clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms” and they “don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world”.
Madrid Masters officials, though, were not interested in those arguments back in 2004 when they replaced the traditional ball boys and girls with models.
Instead of using teenagers, organisers opted for 19 to 28-year-old professional models.
The Telegraph reported that the models “were selected from 80 candidates from Spanish model agencies” and “they wear T-shirts and skirts split just above knee-length and are each paid £600 for the tournament”.
It was, of course, met with outrage and even the Spanish government got involved as Soledad Murillo, an official from Spain’s labour ministry, said it “contributes to fomenting clear discrimination towards women who appear as simple objects of decoration and amusement”.
Even Andre Agassi didn’t think it was appropriate.
He initially joked: “It was difficult, to say the least, to concentrate on the ball. But I suppose I had an advantage, I’m used to playing with my wife.”
He then got serious and felt it’s not something that tennis needs.
“I need some time to let it absorb. It’s important for our sport to understand its product clearly… but I’m not quite convinced it’s part of our product,” he added.
However, the head of the company running the tournament Gerard Tsobanian didn’t want to budge.
“We will continue with our project until the end,” he said. “We want to do something new. This is not machista, we want a women’s tournament here, too, and for that we would use male models.”
Despite the uproar, the models returned the next year and the year after and the year after. Perhaps the outfits were not as skimpy as they were during the first edition.
They have made changes in recent years though as the traditional ball boys and girls are now back on court during the early rounds, but the models are still on part of it come the semi-finals and final.
We will have to wait and see if the models return for the 2018 edition of the Madrid Masters.
Dan Evans battles bravely but Pablo Carreno Busta sets Hubert Hurkacz showdown
The British number two was eventually outlasted 7-5 6-7 6-2 across two hours and 58 minutes.
Andy Murray gets Cinccinati boost, but handed tricky opener against old foe with Cameron Norrie also lurking
Andy Murray handed tough assignment in Cincinnati.
Dan Evans vs Pablo Carreno Busta: How to watch Montreal semis as Evans looks to sneak into ATP top 20
A quick lowdown on the Canadian Masters semi-final and possible ATP Ranking changes.
Rafael Nadal ‘happy to be in Cincy’ as he finds out his path to possible glory at ATP Masters 1000 event
Rafael Nadal good to go in Cincinnati.
Nick Kyrgios ‘doesn’t care’ about records as he admits parents’ illness and fatigue are weighing him down
Nick Kyrgios not concerned about his winning streak coming to an end as he is more worried about his parents.
ATP Cincy draw: Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios could meet again, Dan Evans in line to face Stefanos Tsitsipas
This way for the draw of the 2022 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Simona Halep ‘stays strong mentally’ to hold off ‘super nice and future Grand Slam champion’ Coco Gauff
Simona Halep overcomes edgy second set to beat Coco Gauff.
WTA Cincinnati draw: Emma Raducanu to face Serena Williams in dream opening match
The Cincy draw has dished up a big one: Emma Raducanu vs Serena Williams
Dan Evans continues his dream run to reach Montreal semi-final
He will face Pablo Carreno Busta after the Spaniard defeated British qualifier Jack Draper in straight sets.
ATP Rankings: Casper Ruud threatens career-best ranking
Casper Ruud is on the brink of a career-best ranking.