"Are you guys trying to make players die, or get injured often?" - Daria Kasatkina slams WTA scheduling ahead of Abu Dhabi final vs Elena Rybakina

Daria Kasatkina (L) and Elena Rybakina (R)
Daria Kasatkina (L) and Elena Rybakina (R)

Daria Kasatkina recently criticized the WTA's scheduling leading up to the 2024 Abu Dhabi final against Elena Rybakina.

Kasatkina has had a brilliant start to her 2024 season. She kicked off the year at the Adelaide International, where she reached the final before losing to Jelena Ostapenko. However, her performance at the Australian Open was rather lackluster considering she was defeated in the second round by Sloane Stephens.

At the Abu Dhabi Open, Kasatkina, seeded seventh, defeated the sixth-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) in just under three hours to secure her spot in the championship match.

Following her win against Haddad Maia, Kasatkina criticized the WTA scheduling for the Abu Dhabi Open final and the subsequent start of the Qatar Open. These two events are planned consecutively, posing a significant challenge for her to participate in.

Kasatkina expressed her concerns regarding the tight time frame between the final match in Abu Dhabi and her first round match in Qatar.

"It's terrible scheduling, honestly," Daria Kasatkina said, via France24. "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. And I play finals tomorrow at 5pm."
"We don't have yet this technology that I can just do like this (snaps her fingers) and be in Doha in five seconds."

The Russian also directed a question towards the authorities responsible for tournament scheduling. She questioned whether their decision to arrange back-to-back tournaments, without providing any rest periods in between, was a deliberate attempt to push players to their breaking point.

"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?" asked Daria Kasatkina.

Daria Kasatkina on the tight tournament scheduling: "Something we have to talk about and consider, it cannot be like that"

Daria Kastakina at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Open
Daria Kastakina at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Open

Daria Kasatkina further talked about the challenges of participating in consecutive tournaments. She emphasized that, despite being professional athletes, players are still human beings, and competing in back-to-back events takes a toll on them physically.

Expressing her concern about the demanding scheduling Kasatkina urged the WTA to address this issue and prioritize the players' perspective, as they are the ones most affected by it.

"We're players, we're humans and we're trying to do our job the best we can. But under the circumstances it's not very easy," Daria Kasatkina said, via the aforementioned source. "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."

The Russian emphasized the urgent need to rectify the problem of atrocious scheduling, as it cannot continue in its current state.

"I hope this question will be addressed to the right people. And I'm not crying, I'm just saying the facts and the facts are saying that it's impossible, it cannot be like that," she added.

The 26-year-old is set to play in the first round of the Qatar Open on Monday (February 12) against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.