Just days after claims of sexism headlined the women’s tournament at the Madrid Open, this week’s Italian Open earned its own share of criticism.
The chaos in Rome culminated with the women’s singles final late on Saturday night. The match started at 11 p.m. following rain delays and two men’s semifinals that ended up headlining the night.
Shortly after midnight, Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan won the women’s title when Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina retired due to a left thigh injury. But confusion ensued during the awards presentation, when event organizers announced the winner before the runner-up (the opposite of protocol) and Rybakina had to ask for her own trophy.
Former Australian pro Rennae Stubbs called it the “worst trophy presentation” she had ever seen.
Officially the worst trophy presentation i have ever seen, In my life!!!! Honesty i need to take a Xanax after these last three weeks!!! What the hell is happening!???— Rennae Stubbs 🟦👍🏼 (@rennaestubbs) May 20, 2023
Officially the worst trophy presentation i have ever seen, In my life!!!! Honesty i need to take a Xanax after these last three weeks!!! What the hell is happening!???
If anyone was surprised at the treatment of the women’s event, they shouldn’t have been. After all, the women’s prize pool at this year’s Italian Open was less than half of the men’s ($3.9 million vs. $8.5 million).
Rybakina walked away with $564,000 for winning the women’s title, while Daniil Medvedev earned nearly $1.2 million for his victory on Sunday. Even men’s runner-up Holger Rune earned more for his loss ($627,000) than Rybakina did for her victory.
Italian Open organizers say they intend to begin paying men and women equal prize money — but not until 2025.