Navratilova

As it appears, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is in shambles these days. They’ve faced backlash after backlash, not only from their players but also from the fans. And joining in their plight is none other than tennis icon and former world number one Martina Navratilova, who urged for a new leadership.

The problem with WTA’s selected location

The WTA was already placed in a bad light way before the Cancun Finals even commenced, starting from the moment they announced earlier this year that they were in talks with Saudi Arabia to host the finals.

The announcement was met with resistance from the players, as the nation was infamous for violating women’s and LGBTQ people’s rights, prompting the WTA to reconsider and host the tournament in Cancun, Mexico, instead.

However, the re-selection process took too long, and the location was announced late.

The host city of Cancun was not announced until September, meaning the players had less than two months to prepare.

“It shouldn’t have come that late in the year, making this decision. There was a sequence of bad decisions,” Navratilove said of their late announcement.

And adding to the problem was that Mexico was too far away from Seville, Spain, which was the location of their next competition: the Billie Jean King Cup finals.

For a player to travel from Cancun to Seville, a ten-hour flight would be necessary. Also, due to the two-day gap between the two events, there was limited time for players to recover.

Two players have already opted out of the competition:World No. 2 Iga Swiatek (Poland) and World No. 3 Coco Gauff (USA) have both chosen to be in the WTA finals and opted out of the Billie Jean King Cup finals, as per NBC Sports.

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Subpar Court in Cancun

According to reports, the court in Cancun was only finished a few days before the event started, which meant that the players had little time to practice and adjust to the court.

Aryna Sabalenka, the world No. 1, slammed the WTA for their hastily-built and subpar court on Instagram, writing, “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.”

Disastrous Weather in Cancun

And as if all the other issues weren’t enough, the WTA also failed to check the weather conditions in Cancun prior to scheduling the matches. As a result, the rain and strong wind interrupted their matches numerous times, with the match of Iga Swiatek vs. Aryna Sabalenka even being postponed for a day.

And just to capture how bad the weather was, there was a circulating video on X in which Coco Gauff was seen sitting still on a bench and holding an umbrella to protect her from the rain. However, in just a moment, a gust of wind overpowered her umbrella, and was turned inside out. Surprised and a bit amused, Gauff could only smile at the situation.

“Ultimately, Steve Simon has been the boss for 9 years & here we are… to come to Cancun in the rainy season? You cannot be hoping it’s not gonna rain at a premier event for the WTA Tour. It was just a whole bunch of decisions. You have to own the bad decisions you made & make some choices after that,” Navratilova said.

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Martina Navratilova: It’s time for new leadership

With all the problems that arose, it’s pretty much clear to everyone that WTA had a serious case of bad planning this time, which was unexpected for such a prestigious organization.

In an interview, Navratilova laid out her thoughts about WTA Chief Steve Simon’s leadership recently and about how maybe it’s time for a change.

“Maybe it’s time for new leadership. But for me personally, this being a woman’s association & being involved for such a long time from the beginning, & we’ve only had 3 women at the head of it. I think it’s time. Hopefully, when we get a new leader, it’s a woman. There’s plenty of them that are qualified for the job. It’s gonna be hard for Steve to stay in the job. Everything is pointing the other way,” the tennis icon said.

According to several sources, Simon had been asked twice to do a live interview or even a pre-recorded one to own up to what these women have been dealing with under his leadership, but has sadly refused.

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