Scheduling on the WTA Tour has become so tight that a successful doubles player has sarcastically asked if she can be given a private jet just to make it on time to her next tournament. Both the singles and doubles finals of the WTA Finals take place on Monday in Cancun, Mexico, with American Jessica Pegula set to face Iga Swiatek in the singles final, while Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez take on Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva in the doubles final.
Reaching the final day of the tournament is particularly challenging for Australian doubles star Perez as she is due to represent her country at the Billie Jean King Cup on Tuesday – in Seville.
The scheduling leaves 28-year-old Perez with a logistical nightmare as she races to get back across the Atlantic to southern Spain in time for her next match.
Airing her annoyance on social media, Perez wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Anyone got a private jet and want to fly me from Cancun to Seville tomorrow night to make it in time for BJKC Tuesday 10 am match. Really not impressed with this scheduling disaster. Why do I have to be punished for this.”
Perez and her American partner Melichar-Martinez will take to the court at 7.30pm Central European Time this evening before the Australian must embark on a 7,814km flight that will typically take over 12 hours to complete.
The mad dash will give Perez almost no time to recover, with sleeping on the plane an absolute necessity. Australia’s team match against Slovenia is due to get underway at 10am on Tuesday morning.
The scheduling issue became critical when both the singles and doubles finals at the WTA Finals were postponed until Monday in Mexico. Pegula and Swiatek have already taken the decision to withdraw from the Billie Jean King Cup as a result, along with beaten semi-finalist Coco Gauff.
Perez’ doubles final opponent Siegemund is also due in Seville for the tournament but the German’s first match is not until Thursday (November 9). Storm Hunter, who lost her doubles semi-final on Sunday, is also expected to be in Spain for the Billie Jean King Cup, piling even more pressure on the Australian team.
Perez’ anger was backed up by all-time great Martina Navratilova who was critical of the last-minute decision to host the WTA Finals in Cancun after speculation it may be in Saudi Arabia.
As per Tennishead, Navratilova said: “It shouldn’t have come that late in the year, making this decision. There was a sequence of bad decisions. Ultimately, Steve Simon has been the boss for nine years and here we are. Players adjusted and they had to but to come to Cancun in the rainy season?
“You cannot be hoping it’s not gonna rain at a premier event for the WTA Tour. It was just a whole bunch of decisions. You have to own the bad decisions you made and make some choices after that.”