As the curtains fall on a dynamic year of women’s tennis, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals faces intense scrutiny. The tournament in Cancún, Mexico, encountered controversies, criticized for its venue delays and perceived lack of organization, drawing comparisons to the infamous Fyre Festival.
Top players, including then world No.1 Aryna Sabalenka, raised concerns about unsafe court conditions. Scheduling added to the chaos, with the WTA Finals concluding just before the BJK Cup in Spain, prompting key players to skip the latter.
Weather delays further compounded issues, leaving little recovery time between the two events. Tennis icon Billie Jean King urged improved collaboration to prevent such clashes in the future.
“What the sport needs to do is actually work together, which is really difficult,” Speaking prior to the tournament in Cancún, she stated that the BJK Cup had confirmed its start date “way before” the WTA Finals.
“I think we really should think about the schedule together. I think we need to take care of our sport the most. Put the sport first and figure out the scheduling.”
There is a large pool of elite talent in women’s tennis, and many young, talented players appear to be leading the sport into the future.
WTA under pressure
However, the WTA Finals, which Poland’s Iga Świątek won, will be remembered for pictures of players looking miserable while playing in stormy weather because the tournament was held outdoors on the Mexican coast during hurricane season.
“We work hard all year to get to the Finals and in the end, it’s just a disappointment,” Vondrousova posted on Instagram following her elimination from the competition.
“[The] stadium is not at all ready for the matches and to me, it feels like the people from [the] WTA are absolutely not interested in how we who are supposed to play on that court feel.”
“We do not feel that anyone listens to us and is interested in our opinions.”
In a statement to CNN after the tournament finished, the organization promised to work with players to implement change.
“As we’ve shared with players, the WTA is actively implementing specific improvements, and we are committed to reviewing proposals from players while maintaining a strong future for the Tour and women’s tennis,” it said.