World No 1 Iga Swiatek slams tennis organisers over unsafe schedule

Iga Swiatek - World No 1 Iga Swiatek slams tennis organisers over unsafe schedule - AP
Iga Swiatek - World No 1 Iga Swiatek slams tennis organisers over unsafe schedule - AP

World No 1 Iga Swiatek has criticised tennis's governing bodies for providing "not safe" scheduling as she announced her decision to skip the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

Swiatek was expected to lead Poland out at the Glasgow ITF team event next month. In a punchy statement on Monday though, she said that the clash with the WTA Finals – the biggest individual tournament outside of the majors – makes her participation impossible.

Three-time major winner Swiatek will be an odds-on favourite in the WTA Finals, which are played in Fort Worth, Texas from October 31 to November 7 – finishing just a day before the BJK Cup begins in Scotland.

She had been non-committal about the BJK Cup in recent weeks, but has now confirmed that switching time zones with just 24 hours recovery time would be unsafe and her intention to voice her "disappointment" to the WTA and ITF, who failed to find a scheduling compromise she considered viable. 

"I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow," Swiatek said in her statement posted to Instagram. "And it makes me sad. I'm very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it is possible and I always give it my best.

"I'm disappointed that tennis governing bodies did not come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel around the globe and change the time zone.

"This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury. I'm going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me but mainly for the tennis fans that support our sport."

Swiatek, who won the French Open and US Open this season, will be a huge loss to the team event.

Her statement highlighted the long-existing problem with world tennis being the only sport with seven different governing bodies.

As well as calendar tussles, this season saw the WTA and ATP – which run women's and men's tennis respectively – at war with Wimbledon organisers, withdrawing ranking points over the tournament's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing.