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Ball girls at Madrid open forced to change outfits over sexism row

Ball girls at Madrid open forced to change outfits over sexism row

The Madrid Open ball girls changed outfits after the previous ones were described as 'sexist'

Ball girls at the Madrid Open tennis tournament changed their outfits after a row broke out about whether the previous ones were sexist.

The all-female ball crew on centre court at the tournament, taking place at the Campo Manolo Santana in the Spanish capital, were previously dressed in crop tops, short white skirts, and knee-high socks, but fans noticed that this changed for the final.

It was also pointed out that the boys and girls who were working on the outside courts were wearing different clothing.

The organisers of the tournament had to deal with allegations that the outfits were ‘sexist’, after it was noted that the girls wearing the short skirts were present during the men’s matches, whereas the more standard outfits were worn during the women’s tournament matches.

New outfits were worn after the controversy.
Aflo Co. Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo

Pilar Calvo, a spokesperson for The Association for Women in Professional Sports, was particularly critical of the outfits that that ball girls wore, telling Spanish news outlet Público: “It’s a feminized way of treating girls versus guys who don’t dress like that.

“In the end, it is a form of sexist violence that is so widespread because people don’t even notice it.”

In the end, the centre court ball crews wore a different get-up altogether, featuring longer shorts.

Another row broke out after the contestants in the women’s doubles final weren’t offered the opportunity to address the crowd during the presentation of the trophy.

Coco Gauff, who finished as runner-up alongside her partner Jessica Pegula, wrote on Twitter that none of the participants were ‘given the chance to speak’.

Pegula added: “I don’t know what century everyone was living in when they made that decision.

“Or how they had a conversation and decided, ‘Wow, this is a great decision and there’s going to be no-backlash against this.’

“I’ve never heard in my life we wouldn’t be able to speak.

“It was really disappointing.

“In a $10,000 [lower profile] final you would speak.”

This isn't the only time the tournament has been criticised for perceived 'sexism'.
Aflo Co. Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo

The ball girls in Madrid have been the subject of controversy before now, when in 2004 the tournament hired models to fulfil the role, after which Andre Agassi admitted he found it ‘difficult – to say the least – to concentrate on the ball’.

That policy was changed after the Spanish secretary of state for equality, Soledad Murillo, said that it ‘fomented clear discrimination towards women who appear as simple objects of decoration and amusement’.

The Madrid Open is one of four tournaments on the WTA Tour that are compulsory for the best players in the world.

It pays out equal prize money to both male and female players, though only through a sizeable contribution from the WTA to balance out the winning prizes.

Featured Image Credit: Aflo Co. Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: World News, Sport