Tennis chiefs accused of ‘trying to make players die’ as WTA finalist kicks off

Tennis chiefs accused of 'trying to make players die' as WTA finalist kicks off

Daria Kasatkina has laid into tennis bosses for scheduling her first match at the Qatar Open just one day after the Abu Dhabi Open final. The 26-year-old is set for a stern test against Elena Rybakina on Sunday before immediately jetting to Doha in time to begin her next tournament.

Taking to the court for the first time since the Australian Open, Kasatkina has endured a gruelling week by winning five matches in Abu Dhabi to make it to the final.

Diane Parry, Ashlyn Krueger and Sorana Cirstea all came off second best against the Russian, who went the distance against Beatriz Haddad Maiai in a tough semi-final on Saturday. She has only one day to recover before facing top seed Rybakina, and even if she wins, there will be no time for rest as her opening clash at the Qatar Open is scheduled for Monday.

“It’s terrible scheduling, honestly,” said Kasatkina after beating Haddad Maia. “I don’t know how you can schedule the finals of the tournament on Sunday, wanting to finish the next tournament on Saturday, so you start it on Sunday, and like this, the player, if like me, you don’t have a bye in Doha, I have to play on Monday.

“I play the final [on Sunday] at 5pm. We don’t have yet this technology that I can be in Doha in five seconds. I have a question, I don’t know to who, to WTA or the tournaments, like, are you guys trying to make players die, or to get injured often?

“I might have to fly Monday and step on the court the same day, after playing five matches here at the highest level. So I’m sorry but that’s something we have to talk about and consider.

She crashed out in the second round of the Australian Open to Sloane Stephens, but has since come roaring back in Abu Dhabi. It remains to be seen whether Kasatkina’s taxing run, and the tight turnaround she has in store, leaves her unable to find top form in Doha.

The former French Open semi-finalist, currently ranked No 14 in the world by the WTA, faces compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her first-round Qatar Open match.