Reigning World No. 1 in women's tennis Aryna Sabalenka has criticised the organization of the WTA Finals in Mexico, expressing her sense of feeling "disrespected" by the Women's Tennis Association and concerned for her safety during her first victory at the event.
The decision to host the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, was only finalized in September after negotiations with Saudi Arabia had fallen through. The construction of the tournament court in Mexico was completed just days before the Finals kicked off on Sunday.
Following her commanding victory over Maria Sakkari with a score of 6-0, 6-1, Sabalenka took to social media to express her views on the tournament's organization stating, "I'm happy that I was able to stay focused tonight, overcome the conditions, and play well."
"As a player, I feel really disrespected by the WTA. I think most of us do. This is not the level of organization we expect for the Finals."
Sabalenka went on to say, "To be honest, I don't feel safe moving on this court a lot of the time, the bounce is not consistent at all, and we weren't able to practice on this court until yesterday for the first time. It's just not acceptable to me with so much on the line and so much at stake."
Strong comments about court condition from World No.1 Aryna Sabalenka on her Instagram feed last night: pic.twitter.com/BbIFbvjVu2
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) October 30, 2023
Sabalenka had dominated her match against Sakkari. She converted five out of nine breakpoint chances and secured 11 consecutive games, securing her place at the top of Group A alongside Jessica Pegula.
Jessica Pegula, overcoming an early deficit, managed to win 10 of the last 12 games against Elena Rybakina, with a final score of 7-5, 6-2. Sabalenka praised her opponent Sakkari, stating, "You know against Maria, any time she can come back. You give her a little bit, and she'll take that and keep fighting. I just tried to stay in the moment."
Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, became the World No. 1 after the US Open. She will maintain her No. 1 ranking if she remains undefeated in round-robin play or advances to the final.
Aryna Sabalenka had kind words for Maria Sakkari after beating her 6-0, 6-1 at WTA Finals:
“She’s an amazing player. She’s always fighting for every ball. I knew no matter what the score is that she’d fight for it. That’s what makes her a really tough opponent. You know against… pic.twitter.com/qnWBYQwchV
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) October 30, 2023
Speaking about her victory over Rybakina, Jessica Pegula highlighted her opponent's unforced errors, saying, "I feel like she just made a couple careless errors, and I was able to take advantage of it at the right time. I rode that momentum all the way through the second set. I thought I was returning really well, reading her serve a little bit more, and was able to play some good tennis."