Jessica Pegula hits out over Madrid Open trophy drama – ‘This just kind of proves a point’

Shahida Jacobs
Jessica Pegula talks to the media

Jessica Pegula is the latest to express her disappointment over the “silencing” of the women’s doubles finalists at the Madrid Open.

The WTA 1000 tournament ended in controversial fashion over the weekend as runners-up Pegula and Coco Gauff as well as winners Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia were not allowed to do the traditional post-match trophy speeches following the final.

After the quartet were handed their trophies and posed for pictures, there was confusion on the podium as no microphone were handed to any of the players and the ceremony ended without any speeches.

There had been suggestions that organisers feared that Azarenka and Pegula – who are both on the WTA Players’ Council – would criticise them following a few controversies, including the 1am finishes and “cake gate” drama with the latter raising questions after Aryna Sabalenka was handed a relatively small birthday cake when compared to the one that Carlos Alcaraz received.

Azarenka, who earlier in the week liked a social media post about “cake gate”, and Gauff opted to write their “thank you speeches” on social media.

READ MORE: Madrid Open storm: 1am finishes, cake drama, model ball girls, sexism and ‘helping’ Carlos Alcaraz to win

World No 3 Pegula, meanwhile, was asked about the controversy ahead of the Italian Open.

“What happened in Madrid, it was really disappointing,” the American is quoted as saying by Tennis Majors. “I know a lot of like what happened, detail leading up to the event, just because Vika and I are on players’ council. I had a feeling something was going to happen.

“Did I think we were not going to be able to speak, no. I’ve never heard of that, like, in my life. Even in a 10K Challenger final you would speak. I don’t know what century everyone was living in when they made that decision or how they actually had a conversation and decided, like, ‘Wow, this is a great decision we’re going to do and there’s going to be no backlash against this.'”

She added: “To be honest, it kind of spoke for itself. We were upset when it happened, especially being told during the trophy ceremony we weren’t going to be allowed to speak. We were kind of like, well, I guess this just kind of proves a point. We didn’t really do anything, and here we are. It kind of speaks for itself.

“At the same time there was also that aspect where we were kind of like, we don’t have to say anything else. Everyone kind of picked up on it and was very disappointed.

“I mean, yeah, we’ll see what happens. I don’t really know what’s going to happen after that or what decision is going to be made, statements or anything regarding that. It was just very disappointing. I think everyone kind of felt that way.”

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