‘Awful’ Next Gen tennis draw sparks sexism row

A tennis tournament has been accused of sexism after players were forced to pick a female model to determine their group.

The Next Gen ATP Finals have faced a swift backlash after the bizarre stunt at Sunday night's draw ceremony in Milan. At one point, one player was asked to remove a model's gloves with his teeth.

The event was supposed to highlight Milan's status as a fashion capital but the scene on the catwalk left many stunned.

Former Wimbledon champion and world number one Amelie Mauresmo called it a "disgrace" and tennis coach Judy Murray, Andy Murray's mother, said it was "awful".

The eight-man tournament is a new addition to the sporting calendar.

It is made up of the seven best singles players age 21 and under from the ATP World Tour, plus an Italian wildcard.

Image:Karen Khachanov is sorted into group B
The eight players stand on stage after being sorted
Image:The players stand on stage after being sorted

The event was meant to be a peek at the future of tennis, but ended up drawing accusations that it was offering an outdated and sexist image of women.

During the draw ceremony for the tournament's round-robin stage players were asked to choose a female model, who had either the letter A or B hidden on their body.

The pair then walked down a catwalk together before the model revealed her letter – and the group the player would be in – to the cameras.

One woman revealed her letter by lifting up her dress and another by taking off her jacket.

:: Williams calls Nastase's comments 'racist' and 'sexist'

Hyeon Chung walks the runway with a model during the draw
Image:Hyeon Chung walks the runway with a model during the draw

The event drew near-universal condemnation among tennis fans and journalists on social media.

Sports journalist Reem Abulleil said she was left "speechless" and "sad" by the ceremony, while tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg called it "stunningly uncomfortable, cringeworthy and trashy".

The ATP and Red Bull, which co-sponsored the ceremony, apologised "for the offence caused".

In a joint statement, they said: "The intention was to integrate Milan's rich heritage as one of the fashion capitals of the world.

"However, our execution of the proceedings was in poor taste and unacceptable.

"We deeply regret this and will ensure that there is no repeat of anything like it in the future."

The tournament begins on Tuesday and the final will take place on Saturday, where the winner will take home £960,000 in prize money.


Original Article

Leave a Reply