'What a joke': Female players shafted in ugly Aussie tennis controversy

Yahoo Sports Staff

Sam Stosur says it is "not great" that the start of the women's Brisbane International has been relegated to outside courts due to a clash with the inaugural men's ATP Cup.

But the former US Open champion hopes a compromise can be made, backing the creation of a WTA Cup women's team tournament or the Hopman Cup's return.

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Some of the biggest names in women's tennis including Australia's world No.1 Ashleigh Barty have arrived for the season opener starting on Monday.

However, they won't feature on centre court at Pat Rafter Arena until at least Thursday, after ATP Cup group stage matches are completed.

Sam Stosur,. pictured here speaking to media ahead of the Brisbane International.
Sam Stosur speaks to media ahead of the Brisbane International. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Stosur said the tournament clash had caused confusion for fans and was "rough" on female players who had to start their campaigns away from the main stage.

"It's a bit rough that there's no women's matches on centre court until Thursday," she said on Sunday.

"So in that way it's not great. It does change the complexion a little bit.

"And I know a few fans that I've talked to or come up to me are a little bit confused about what's actually going on."

A number of fans are also up in arms.

ATP Cup continuing to cause controversy

The men's 24-team ATP Cup started last Friday with six days of round robin matches in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney before finals action switches to Sydney on Thursday.

The Hopman Cup was scrapped due to the creation of the ATP Cup and ensured the Brisbane International became a stand alone women's tournament for the first time this year.

But it also ensured the women's tournament would not be able to hold marquee games on Pat Rafter Arena for its first three days.

Stosur believed a viable solution was creating a WTA Cup or bringing back the Hopman Cup, which features mixed teams.

"I talked to (Tennis Australia CEO) Craig (Tiley) about that at Wimbledon last year and I know that he's very much on board to try and make a WTA (Cup) event," she said.

Nick Kyrgios, John Millman and Alex de Minaur, pictured here in action for Australia at the ATP Cup.
Nick Kyrgios, John Millman and Alex de Minaur in action for Australia at the ATP Cup. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

"And six, seven years ago maybe, WTA was trying to do the same thing but couldn't fit it in the week.

"But I think everyone likes playing in a team. We all love playing for our country.

"Hopman Cup's always been very successful with the men and women so I think if you are going to do it, I think it would be pretty cool to have a combined event.

"I think that would be really exciting if all parties can get together and make that happen."

After a first round bye, top seed Barty is expected to play one of the first matches on Pat Rafter Arena on Thursday.

French Open champion Barty said she wasn't fussed where she started her Brisbane International campaign.

"It doesn't matter what court I play on, they're all the same," she said.

with AAP