Madrid Open Being Criticized Over Ball Girl Outfits, Cake, And Silencing Women’s Doubles Winners

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Carlos Alcaraz and Aryna Sabalenka were crowned men’s and women’s champions at the Madrid Open last week. Instead of focusing on their victories, some folks seem to have taken issue with a number of things that took place during the tournament.

An all-female crew of ball girls worked men’s matches during the Open and some didn’t appreciate their attire. The ball girls wore tennis skirts, a crop top collared shirt, and a hat. After complaints, the ball crew elected to change their outfits.

Pilar Calvino, a spokesperson for the Spanish Association for Women in Professional Sport, told The Independent that organizers were urged to change the policy around the dress code. Calvino went as far as to say that the ball girls’ outfits were a form of “sexist violence.”

“It’s a way of feminizing girls with respect to boys who don’t dress in the same way,” Calvino said. “Ultimately, it’s a form of sexist violence that is so widespread that people don’t even notice it.”

Some took issue with the ball girls outfits at the Madrid Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The outfits that women who weren’t even competing in the tournament weren’t the only controversy to come out of Madrid last week.


After winning the men’s final, Alcaraz, who is from Spain and whose birthday was two days prior to the final, received a two-tier cake. Sabalenka, who is from Belarus, was gifted a much smaller cake after her win, which World No. 16 Victoria Azarenka pointed out on social media.

Lastly, Azarenka and her doubles partner Beatriz Haddad Maia beat Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula in the final, but the winners were not allowed to dress the crowd as they typically are during other tournaments.

Finalists in the men’s singles and doubles and the women’s singles were given the opportunity to speak to the crowd, according to USA Today.

While you can argue that the ball girl outfits and the size of a cake aren’t really issues, the women’s doubles winners not being allowed to address the fans is very odd.

Gauff took to Twitter to explain the situation while thanking fans in Madrid.

“I don’t know what century everyone was living in when they made that decision,” Pegula said Tuesday, according to Tennis Majors. “To be honest, it kind of spoke for itself. We were upset when it happened, especially being told during the trophy ceremony we weren’t going to be allowed to speak. We were kind of like, Well, I guess this just kind of proves a point.”

Quite a bit going on in the world of tennis with the opening round of the French Open less than two weeks away.

Written by Mark Harris


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  1. All fair enough really, sport hasn’t been about athletes for decades now, it’s all about activists and awareness. Nobody is allowed to switch off and become engrossed in a contest, we must be constantly aware of the one percent of the population as defined by entitled elites.

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