Apology issued by US Open officials after tickets for women's semi-final given 'consolation' status

Arthur Ashe Stadium before Naomi Osaka took on Serena Williams in the 2018 US Open final (PA Images)
11:37am, Thu 15 Aug 2019
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

US Open officials have issued an apology after they appeared to infer that women's semi-finals tickets were a consolation prize for those who miss out on winning seats for the men's final four.

Fans are being urged to sign up to the Fan Access Pass which offers the chance to win tickets for the tournament that begins on August 26.

But the promotional image received a great deal of criticism from many on social media, including Judy Murray, who highlighted the way it derogatorily referred to the women's side of the sport.

And Murray was not the only famous figure from the tennis world to comment on the PR blunder, as 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova also hit out.

Navratilova said: "Not a surprise here, but disappointment? That would be a yes."

As a result of the backlash, the United States Tennis Association - which runs the US Open - released a statement.

It said: "While describing the prizes in the Ultimate US Open Experience, the language used inadvertently compared the men's and women's semi-finals unfavourably.

"The grand prize was a reference to a total prize package, including restaurant passes and US Open merchandise, in addition to men's semi-finals tickets and photos on court.

"Those that did not win this were also eligible to win tickets to a number of other sessions, including the women's semi-finals. The US Open is proud of its long tradition of gender equity and we sincerely apologise for not adequately describing the differences in the prize packages."

On the whole, the US Open does have a good record of providing gender equality compared with the other Slams.

It was the first to introduce equal pay for female players in 1973 when Billie Jean King threatened to boycott the tournament, something Wimbledon didn't do for another 34 years.