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Madrid Apologizes for Muting Women's Doubles Finalists

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, May 11, 2023

Madrid says No Mas to giving women the silent treatment.

The Mutua Madrid Open has apologized for muting women's doubles finalists—and promises it won't happen again.

More: Madrid Mutes Women's Doubles

Mutua Madrid Open CEO Gerard Tsobanian issued an apology to all four women's doubles finalists—Victoria Azarenka, Beatriz Haddad Maia, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff—who were not permitted to speak after the Mutua Madrid Open doubles finals as well as tennis fans.

The move sparked widespread criticism and charges of sexism as fans pointed out men's doubles finalists were permitted to speak.

Tournament officials vow the silencing snafu will never happen again.

"We sincerely apologize to all the players and fans who expect more of the Mutua Madrid Open tournament," Gerard Tsobanian said in a statement. "Not giving our women’s doubles finalists the chance to address their fans at the end of the match was unacceptable and we have apologized directly to Victoria, Beatriz, Coco and Jessica.

"We are working internally and with the WTA to review our protocols and are committed to improving our process moving forward. We made a mistake and this will not ever happen again."

In the aftermath of Azarenka and Haddad Maia defeating Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-4, the four women were presented their trophies but not given the opportunity to speak.

Watch around the 11:20 mark of the video above to see the four women standing on the podium together waiting for the opportunity to speak while music plays over the sound system. The players pose for a trophy shot then leave the podium as music continues to play.

"What happened in Madrid, it was really disappointing," Pegula told the media in Rome today. "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."

Former world No. 1 Azarenka pointed out Madrid's double standard on social media.

"Hard to explain to [son] Leo that mommy isn’t able to say hello to him at the trophy ceremony," Azarenka posted on Twitter.

Photo credit: Mutua Madrid Open Facebook