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US Open's No. 1 Swatek

12:13 PM ET

  • D’Arcy MaineESPN.com

Dominate the world first and twice Grand Slam champion Igas Vatek called the ball used at the U.S. Open “horrible” at a press conference at the Western and Southern Opens this week and questioned why women and men use different balls in the tennis profession. This is the only Grand Slam tournament that doesn’t use the same ball for all players.

“I don’t know why they are different from the men’s ball,” Swatek said Wednesday. “I don’t know, like 15 years ago, women’s elbows were probably hurt because the balls were heavier and they changed them to women’s balls, but now our bodies are so well prepared, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Plus we can’t get these balls in Europe, or actually, when we buy them in the store, they’re nothing like the tournament balls, so when I practice at home [Poland] with the US Open balls, I’m with the men. Practicing the ball together…

“I think, [women’s ball] is really hard to control, but everyone has the same conditions, so we’re working on that. Honestly, I don’t understand why they are different. “

These balls are also used in leading swings, including at the Western and Southern Opens and last week’s Canadian Open. Swiatek, who had won 37 straight earlier this season, was on Thursday at Cincinnati lost to Madison Keys in the Round of 16 and in the same round in Toronto.

Players have Swatek said she complained about the differences between each other , she and Paula Bardoza, who is currently No. 4, spoke with WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon last year to ask if they could switch to the same ball as the men.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem because it’s still the same company, it’s Wilson, but yeah, maybe we should try a little bit more,” Swatek said. “I stopped Actually pushing and trying to convince the WTA that because of the Ukraine war, I refocused on other things. Yeah, but honestly, any game I play with these balls, I don’t feel comfortable. “

WTA senior vice president of global communications Amy Binder said in a statement to ESPN that the organization is listening to players’ concerns and will explore further. This matter.

“The WTA has been using regular felt balls for hard court games and we’ve now started hearing from a few players who have chosen us who want to consider a change to using the extra duty ball ,” Binder said. “The basis for using a regular felt ball is that it limits the potential for injury to the arm, shoulder, elbow and wrist. This is something we will continue to monitor and discuss further with our athletes and our exercise science team. “

Swiatek is not the first to publicly express her dissatisfaction with the ball gap. Craig Tai, the longtime coach of former world number one Ashley Barty Ze told reporters after winning the Australian Open earlier this year that Barty would never win the US Open with the ball he has now. Barty has retired.

“The US Open really needs to be Changing the ball for the girls, the fact that they still use different balls for boys and girls, it’s a bad ball for guys like Ash,” Tyzzer said in January. “It was the only game last year. , really for two years she was using a visceral racket, but I had to replace her with a polygon just to get any control over the ball. No one like Ash would win that game if they kept that ball the same.

“So I think you saw the results at the U.S. Open, it was two players, and you went, ‘Wow, that is, two different players won? “It’s not surprising when the ball is like this.”

Five of the first seven U.S. Open women’s champions, including defending champion Emma Raducanu, are First Grand Slam title. The 2022 U.S. Open kicks off on Aug. 29 in New York with Swatek as the top seed.

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