TENNIS chiefs have been forced to apologise for staging a sexist spectacle in Milan for an under-21s tournament draw.
At the draw ceremony for the Next Gen ATP finals tournament, male players were each asked to pick a female model to walk them arm-in-arm down the catwalk, before the woman had to take off or pull up an item of clothing to reveal the player’s group letter.
One woman lifted up her lace dress to show the letter A written on her thigh while another suggestively took off her jacket, with B marked on her back.
South Korean player Hyeon Chung was asked to pull off a model’s glove off with his teeth.
The egregious event on Sun
day was put on by men’s tour body ATP and sponsored by sugary beverage conglomerate Red Bull.
ATP and Red Bull issued a statement yesterday apologising for the disgraceful draw. They claimed they intended “to integrate Milan’s rich heritage as one of the fashion capitals of the world” but said the “execution of proceedings was in poor taste and unacceptable.”
It was unclear why such “integration” would be necessary at an event to divide up the young players into groups for the tournament, which begins today.
“We deeply regret this and will ensure that there is no repeat of anything like it in the future,” the statement said, though it was not clear yesterday why the companies concocted the catastrophe in the first place.
Female tennis players and coaches roundly condemned the event. Former world No 1 Amelie Mauresmo derided it as a “disgrace” while coach
Judy Murray blasted the event as “awful.”
The event’s marketing slogan, depressingly enough, was “the future is now.”