Maria Sharapova: Brisbane International feels like a secondhand event

Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 09:37 IST | AFP | Brisbane

The WTA tournament is being run alongside the Brisbane leg of the men's new team tournament, which has taken over centre court at the Queensland Tennis Centre

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova

Brisbane: Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova said the Brisbane International felt like "a second-hand event" with women relegated to outside courts to make way for men playing the inaugural ATP Cup.

The WTA tournament is being run alongside the Brisbane leg of the men's new team tournament, which has taken over centre court at the Queensland Tennis Centre.

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens blasted organisers on Tuesday, accusing them of favouring the male players and not respecting women, with Sharapova also weighing in.

"You definitely recognise it and notice it," she said, with even Australian World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who is his hugely popular in Brisbane, relegated to an outside court.

"It feels like a little bit of a secondhand event." The ATP Cup's last round-robin matches in Brisbane are on Wednesday, meaning the women can only play on centre court from Thursday.

New concept for women
Australian tennis officials said they were working on a new concept for women's tennis after top players complained they were being shunted aside to make way for the men's ATP Cup.Brisbane International tournament director Mark Handley said tennis in Australia was in a "transitional period" following the introduction of the ATP Cup, whose inaugural edition is being played in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

Wildcard for Maria
Meanwhile, Sharapova said it was "very special" after being handed an Australian Open wildcard.

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