How the 2023 WTA Finals became the Fyre Festival of tennis tournaments “See Top Trending Photos”

A beach resort in Cancun. The eight best women’s tennis players in the world. $9m and the world No 1 spot on the line. What could possibly go wrong? If you have followed anything of the WTA Finals this week, you will know the answer is pretty much everything.

The prestigious event was won by Iga Swiatek on Monday night, crushing Jessica Pegula to capture the final tournament of the season and take the year-end world No 1 ranking. But in the years to come, the 2023 WTA Finals will be remembered as the tournament that launched a thousand memes, descending into high farce as tropical storms lashed in to the temporary arena by the Gulf of Mexico. Like the ill-fated Fyre Festival, the WTA Finals was a tournament that promised style and luxury, but descended into darkness and seemed to hit a new problem at every turn.In the end, the decision to host an outdoor event during hurricane season, and a stone’s throw away from the coast, proved to be a completely comical one. That’s if the clear problems of disorganisation weren’t so serious. Aryna Sabalenka appeared to sum it up: “I’m dying laughing or maybe crying,” she posted. As the rain hit, Sabalenka, with a towel over her head, was left looking up pleadingly like Mother Teresa at the dark skies. Then there was Coco Gauff, gripping onto an umbrella as if her life depended on it, before giving up with a resigned sigh as it eventually buckled and snapped out of shape.Players were fed up, matches suspended, and the final pushed back to Monday. Play was ruined at times by the swirling winds and challenging conditions. Water flooded the temporary venue and shivering ballgirls worked tirelessly to clear the courts. Yet, before the weather descended, players were already unhappy. Sabalenka said she felt “disrespected” after arriving in Cancun to find a court built on top of a golf course, which produced an uneven bounce. Given the conditions and how the Finals arrived in Cancun in the first place, it led to the WTA’s chief executive Steve Simon coming under increasing pressure. Martina Navratilova, the 18-time grand-slam champion, said it will be hard for Simon to survive the disaster of the past week.



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