After the Tour Finals disaster, Martina Navratilova believes Steve Simon will not continue as WTA president and that another woman should lead the elite circuit.
Simon has been WTA chairman and CEO for eight years, but players are increasingly criticizing him, including the choice to hold the Finals in Cancun outside. “Maybe it’s time for new leadership,” 18-time Grand Slam singles winner Navratilova told Amazon Prime.
“This has been a women’s association for so long, yet we’ve only had two women at the top. I hope our future leader is a woman. Many are qualified for the position. Steve may struggle to keep his job because everything is going wrong.”
Less than two months before the season began on Oct. 29, Cancun was chosen to host the $9 million WTA Finals, which features the top eight singles and doubles players.
After the opening day of group play, world number one Aryna Sabalenka criticized the WTA over court conditions, saying she felt “disrespected” by the event’s organization. After rain and high winds delayed the semi-final between Iga Swiatek and Sabalenka to Nov. 5, the final was moved to Monday.
“The players had to adjust,” Navratilova said. But to visit Cancun in the wet season? You cannot hope it won’t rain at the WTA Tour’s main event.
“Own your bad judgments and make subsequent choices. There were some awful choices. Steve Simon has led for eight years, and here we are.”
Simon told players in a leaked letter this week that Cancun was chosen to host the showcase tournament “based on a number of complicated factors.”
After many top players complained about their treatment, he stated that the WTA took responsibility for the dire circumstances and announced circuit improvements.
The WTA told Reuters on Friday that it will continue to listen to players’ tour suggestions.