US Open row escalates as complaining women players backed over ‘nonsensical’ rule

Serena Williams announces she is ‘evolving away from tennis’

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Former tennis star Alex Corretja has backed world number one Iga Swiatek after she hit out at US Open chiefs for using different tennis balls for male and female players.

The US Open is the only Grand Slam which uses lighter balls for the women’s tournament and Swiatek says “many players complain” about it.”We make more mistakes [with these balls], for sure,” Swiatek said.

“So I don’t think that’s really nice to watch visually, I don’t know why they are different than men’s ones. 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. I know that many players complain, and many of them are top 10 [players]. Me and Paula Badosa last year talked with [WTA chief] Steve about changing to men’s balls.

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“I don’t think it would be a problem because it’s still the same company. Maybe we should push a bit more, I stopped pushing and trying to convince the WTA because the war in Ukraine happened and I refocused on something else.”

And Corretja agrees with Swiatek’s assessment, telling Eurosport it “doesn’t make any sense anymore to have different balls”. The Spaniard explained: “It’s been like that for many, many years and maybe it’s time to just put it together, and especially if those balls that they using are not suitable to play on hard court.

“Maybe before, they did it because they felt like it was an advantage for them to give them a little bit in like, let’s say, an extra power. But now we can see that the players, the women, that they’re hitting so hard, so they need to have a little bit more control.

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“And I heard like the ball for them, it seems like it’s flying because they’re lighter or whatever, and they don’t have that nice feeling. When you’re a player, you need to have a feeling to play.

“So I think they should consider that maybe for next season, they should just play with the same ball because probably in these days where we are, it doesn’t make any sense anymore to have different balls.”

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