Elena Rybakina caught up in ugly tennis 'abomination' amid crowd drama
For the second week in a row a tournament has been blasted for horrible scenes.
Elena Rybakina has been caught up in some horrible crowd drama at the Rome Masters after the event organisers were booed over the disastrous scheduling for the women's final. The Italian Open has been heavily impacted by rain delays across the last week with matches continually suspended and delayed.
This was no different with the two men's semi-final clashes, which saw Holger Rune and Daniil Medvedev emerge victorious, delayed due to rain in Rome. However, the organisers opted to go ahead with the women's tennis final late at night and it sparked outrage.
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Tennis player Alize Cornet took to social media to slam the organisation with the match between Rybakina and Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina not starting till around 11pm local time. The French player said it was 'sad' one of the biggest clay court finals in the women's calendar was going to be impacted with less people in the crowd and viewers on TV due to the scheduling.
She questioned why the tournament organisers couldn't move the match to the following day alongside the men's final. And she wasn't alone with the tennis world baffled as the two finalists took to the court after multiple delays.
And the drama didn't end there. Rybakina defeated Kalinina when the Ukrainian retirred hurt in tears. The Wimbledon champion took the first set, but watched on as Kalinina was unable continue in brutal scenes.
Although to finish off the tournament the trophy ceremony was a train wreck - not for the first time on the WTA Tour this month - with the tennis world blasting the presentation. As Rybakina went up to be presented with the trophy from the tournament bosses, the crowd erupted in boos.
Rybakina looked on sheepishly probably unaware of the context around the dismay from the fans. Not only were fans frustrated with the late timing of the match, but it comes after a week of empty seats in the main stadiums because the Italian tournament raised the price of ticket entry.
Tennis great Rennae Stubbs led the outrage at the trophy ceremony after she asked 'what the hell' was going on. Rybakina was also announced as the winner and called up first, before the runner-up, which is against tennis tradition.
She labelled the scenes as an 'abomination' for women's tennis. Italian fans were clearly unhappy with the scheduling of the final this year and let their feelings known.
It seems that the tournament organizers were being boo'd. As the trophy presentation went on, everytime the organizers walked towards the microphone the crowd let them hear it. This is likely due to the scheduling.
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) May 20, 2023
This was a complete disaster!
— ShelleyM 🎾😎🐊 (@gamesetmtch) May 20, 2023
What the hell is going on with this presentation? Also the fact that the women are playing a final of a 1000 at midnight is an abomination!!!!!
— Rennae Stubbs 🟦👍🏼 (@rennaestubbs) May 20, 2023
A little sad to see that the women's final of one of the biggest @wta event of the season is starting at 11pm. Nobody in the stands of course, and not really cool for both players to start such an important match so late...
Why not put both men and women's finals tomorrow? #ibi23
— Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) May 20, 2023
Disrespectful. Horrid. Astounded. Where the hell is the @WTA ? After last week this should never have happened.
— Jen Johnson (@tennisjen7) May 20, 2023
Surely, surely they are not going to try to start the women’s final at 11pm.
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) May 20, 2023
Gotta feel for the organizers.
Absolute nightmare 10 days in terms of weather. Horrendous for the crowd too.
Almost unbelieavable to have 10 consecutive days like this in Rome mid may.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 20, 2023
The Rome Masters disaster for the women's game comes after the Madrid Open was slammed for the outfits for the ball girls and the scheduling for the women's matches. World No.1 Swiatek called out the tournament for scheduling the women's matches so late in the evening following her speech in the final.
The women's doubles final also saw the finalists denied a chance to speak in the trophy celebration. Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff let rip at the organisers for the controversial move last week.
Elena Rybakina continues brilliant 2023 season
Rybakina spoke after her Rome Masters victory and said it was a shame the match ended the way it did.
"Of course, happy with the title," Rybakina said. "Not the way I want to finish this match. "It's been great, I think, results for Anhelina. She played some tough battles. Really happy for her improvement.
"Hopefully she can continue like this. Pity she couldn't finish the match. I hope that it's nothing serious. So hopefully she can recover quick and she can continue like this."
The win marked Rybakina's fifth career title, which includes last year's Wimbledon Championship. She is now expected to rise to World No.4 ahead of the French Open. She will enter the tournament in Paris as one of the favourites alongside Swiatek and Sabalenka.
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