US Open: Iga Swiatek slams organisers over puzzling tennis ball policy

Iga Swiatek

World number one Iga Swiatek has called for US Open organisers to change a tournament policy that requires female players to use different balls to their male counterparts.

The New York Grand Slam is the only major tournament on the calendar that provides lighter balls for women.

Swiatek and ‘many other players’ on the WTA Tour have complained about this rule and want to see it overturned.

Speaking during a press conference at the Cincinnati Open, the 20-year-old criticised the US Open’s policy and admitted the lighter balls makes players more susceptible to errors on the court.

“We make more mistakes [with these balls], for sure. So I don’t think that’s really nice to watch visually, I don’t know why they are different [to] men’s ones.

“Fifteen years ago probably women had some elbow injuries because the balls were heavier and they changed them to women’s balls. But right now we are so physically well prepared that I don’t think it would happen.”

All tennis balls for the US Open are supplied by Wilson, so Swiatek has argued there is no need to provide two different types for the men and women.

STUTTGART, GERMANY – APRIL 22: Iga Swiatek of Poland reacts in the women’s singles quarter final match against Emma Raducanu of Great Britain (not pictured) during day five of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2022 at Porsche Arena on April 22, 2022 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

The Polish star, who became the world number one following Ashleigh Barty’s retirement in March, has enjoyed a stunning year so far.

After becoming just the fourth woman to win the Indian Wells and the Miami Open titles back-to-back — more famously known as the Sunshine Double — Swiatek won her second Grand Slam title at the French Open.

She is currently head and shoulders above the rest of the WTA players, boasting a mammoth lead of more than 4000 points over world number two Anett Kontaveit.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 05: Iga Swiatek of Poland, 2022 French Open Women’s Champion, poses with the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in front of the Eiffel Tower at Pont Bir-Hakeim on June 05, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Swiatek will hope to compete for another Grand Slam at this year’s US Open but feels she and the other female players would perform better with standard tennis balls.

“I think those balls are horrible, especially after like three games of really hard playing, they are getting more and more light.

“I feel it’s really hard to control them, but everybody has the same conditions, so we are trying to deal with that. I don’t get why they are different, honestly,” she continued.

“Me and Paula Badosa last year talked with Steve [Simon] about changing to men’s balls. I don’t think it would be a problem because it’s still the same company.”

Swiatek is currently competing at the Cincinnati Masters, where she enjoyed a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sloane Stephens in her first match. She will face Madison Keys in the next round.

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