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Pegula: Madrid Mute Really Disappointing

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Madrid silencing women's doubles finalists is "really disappointing" and speaks volumes about the tournament, says Jessica Pegula.

The Mutua Madrid Open came under criticism for forgoing the time-honored tradition of champions and finalists speaking at the trophy ceremony.

More: Madrid Mutes Women's Doubles

Instead, the tournament muted Madrid women's doubles champions Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia and finalists Pegula and Coco Gauff.

The Mutua Madrid Open was accused of a sexist double standard as it did permit men's doubles finalists to speak at the trophy presentation.

Asked about the treatment in Rome today, Pegula blasted Madrid's stance as "really disappointing" and said it left players upset.

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

The world No. 3 said she's never seen a tournament silence finalists as Madrid did.

"Did I think we were not going to be able to speak, no. I've never heard of that, like, in my life," Pegula said. "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."

In the aftermath of Azarenka and Haddad Maia defeating Americans Gauff and 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.

Former Madrid champion Ons Jabeur Madrid's mute was "definitely unacceptable."

"Definitely unacceptable not to give the opportunity for players to speak," Jabeur said. "I hope it's just a misunderstanding. I still don't have the full picture to see what happened exactly.

"I spoke to some players. We'll see what happened. For sure I hope this thing will never happen again."

Pegula, the 2022 Madrid singles finalist, said regardless of what tournament organizers say, their silencing action speaks volumes about their position on women's tennis.

"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," Pegula said. "We were kind of like, Well, I guess this just kind of proves a point. We didn't really do anything, and here we are. It kind of speaks for itself.

"At the same time there was also that aspect where we were kind of like, Well, we don't have to say anything else. Everyone kind of picked up on it and was very disappointed."

Photo credit: Getty