WTA Tour

Sharapova slams 'second-hand' Brisbane event as men take over

2020-01-08 10:19
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova (AP)

Brisbane - Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova said the Brisbane International felt like "a second-hand event" with women relegated to outside courts to make way for men playing the inaugural ATP Cup.

The WTA tournament is being run alongside the Brisbane leg of the men's new team tournament, which has taken over centre court at the Queensland Tennis Centre.

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens blasted organisers on Tuesday, accusing them of favouring the male players and not respecting women, with Sharapova also weighing in.

"You definitely recognise it and notice it," she said, with even Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty, who is his hugely popular in Brisbane, relegated to an outside court.

"It feels like a little bit of a second-hand event."

The ATP Cup's last round-robin matches in Brisbane are on Wednesday, meaning the women can only play on centre court from Thursday.

Under the ATP Cup's innovative tournament rules, on-court coaching is allowed and team zones are in the corners of the court, rather than on the sidelines by the umpire.

Sharapova, who crashed in the first round to American Jennifer Brady on Tuesday evening, suggested this could be a reason why women were not allowed to share centre court.

"It's definitely a bit of a strange strategic move," she said of favouring the men.

"I'm not sure (but) I heard that because the way that the court is constructed, that it's not regulation for us to be playing on centre court with the benches on the side.

"I don't know what else it might be that's preventing (us playing there), because I think there's a lot of girls that are deserving of that centre court spot in this draw.

"Everyone should have a conversation about it, that's just my outside view," she added.

Barty heads a high-quality field in Brisbane, which includes four of the women's top five.

Stephens, who is on the WTA players' council, said it was clear women had been sidelined.

"We just weren't in the conversation to even be considered," she said.

"It was what the ATP wanted - they got what they wanted, girls to the side, that's kind of how it always is."

Read more on:    wta tour  |  maria sharapova  |  tennis

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Vote

When all is said and done, who of the 'Big 3' in men's tennis ends their career with the most Grand Slams?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.