Coco Gauff issues statement as players turn on Madrid Open chiefs

Coco Gauff issued a statement after the women’s doubles champions and runners-up were stopped from making speeches at the Madrid Open. Gauff and Jessica Pegula were upset by the new pairing of Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia. And neither team got to speak at the trophy ceremony, prompting a series of responses from their fellow players over the “unacceptable” decision.

The women’s doubles final at the Madrid Open caused a stir when none of the four players involved were given a moment with the microphone. The lack of speeches was first picked up by Greg Rusedski on Prime, who called out the “bizarre” incident.

Retired pro Daniela Hantuchova guessed that the players involved were rushing to catch a flight to the Rome WTA 1000 but it soon emerged that Gauff and co had been stopped from speaking. The teenager issued a statement on Twitter to say thanks to those she would have recognised in her speech.

And it saw several players turn on the Madrid Open bosses, with last year’s singles champion Ons Jabeur slamming the “unacceptable” call while doubles winner Azarenka hit out at the tournament organisers yet again. “Wasn’t given the chance to speak after the final today:(“ Gauff wrote.

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The doubles world No 4 congratulated her opponents while thanking Pegula, their teams and those involved involved in running the event. “Twitter format doesn’t allow me to say everything I would’ve said during the speech if we had one,” she added, before her colleagues questioned the Madrid Open for preventing the players from speaking.

“So unfortunate that you were not given a chance to address the crowd and your opponents. This is sad and unacceptable,” Jabeur – who was forced to miss the event this year – responded. Pegula reposted her teammate’s tweet with a zipped mouth, a confused face and a shrugging emoji.

After winning her first title with Haddad Maia, Azarenka also tweeted a condensed version of what she would have said in her speech. And the former world No 1 took aim at Madrid Open chiefs as she added: “Hard to explain to Leo that mommy isn’t able to say hello to him at the trophy ceremony.”

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It comes after the two-time Major champion slammed the different treatment that different players received when Carlos Alcaraz received a huge, two-tier cake for his 20th birthday on Friday. Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka was gifted a much smaller cake as she turned 25 on the same day.

“Couldn’t be more accurate on the treatment,” she tweeted, reposting photos of the two cakes. Tournament director Feliciano Lopez then hit back and responded to Azarenka, mentioning the cake that ATP world No 7 Holger Rune received for his birthday earlier in the event.

“I’m surprised by this reaction after this gesture!” he wrote. “1. Carlos had just won his match to reach the final. 2. He was playing on centre court. 3. The tournament is played in Spain, even though it is an international event. PS: I hope Rune wasn’t also upset by his treatment.”

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