Tennis commentator left ‘speechless’ by Madrid Open speech fiasco – ‘Were players silenced?’

Madrid Open women's doubles trophy presentation

Madrid Open organisers’ decision not to allow the women’s doubles champions and runners-up to deliver their traditional post-matches speeches continues to leave the tennis community confused.

Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia won their maiden WTA doubles title as a pair on Sunday as they upset top seeds Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff 6–1, 6–4 in the final.

After both teams were handed their trophies and posed for photos, there was an awkward exchange between the four players as they were not handed microphones to do any interviews during the presentation ceremony.

The incident not only left tennis fans confused, but also the players as Gauff was first to take to social media to thank her team, writing: “Wasn’t given the chance to speak after the final today:( But thank you to the fans for supporting us and women’s tennis this week! Thanks @JLPegula for always keeping it fun on the court and hitting unreal clutch shots hahahaha Lastly, big congratulations Vika and Bia 🎉💗.

“Also thanks to my team and Jess’s team of course! Also for the ball kids, tournament staff, and everyone else who works hard behind the scenes. Twitter format doesn’t allow me to say everything I would’ve said during the speech if we had one. But just wanted to say I ‘m thankful.”

Former world No 1 Azarenka then followed it up with a “victory speech” of her own on Twitter.

“I would like to say thank you to all the fans for coming out and supporting us! Thank you to Bia for an incredible week! Our first title together! Congrats to @JLPegula and @CocoGauff for the final and your teams! Thank you to all the people behind the scenes for working hard! I would like to say thank you to my team for your hard work and support! An unforgettable week.”

A second tweet read: “Hard to explain to Leo that mommy isn’t able to say hello to him at the trophy ceremony.”

Organisers of the joint ATP-WTA 1000 event were criticised over the decision and tennis commentator and 21-time women’s doubles Grand Slam champion Pam Shriver weighed in on the controversy.

“My take last night after seeing replay of ⁦Madrid Open⁩ doubles ceremony. Two ⁦WTA player council members ⁦Victoria Azarenka and Jessica Pegula⁩ & partners ⁦Coco Gauff⁩ & Beatriz Haddad Maia were silenced. Why? Did tournament break a tour policy or just traditions?” she asked on Twitter.

In a video the American added: “Who would’ve thought that the women’s doubles final would provide one of the more controversial moments of the year so far.

“Gauff and Pegula lost to Haddad Maia and Vika Azarenka and none of them got to thank their teams or their families or sponsors, nobody.

“And look, you’ve got two members of the Players Council there in Pegula and Azarenka. Two other top singles players and they are obviously conferring there like what just happened. No microphone, I’m speechless and so are they but for the wrong reasons.”

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