Tennis organizers under fire for draw ceremony with models
Canada's Denis Shapovalov in attendance at Milan event
Organizers apologized Monday for a ceremony involving female models provocatively revealing the letters "A" or "B" to determine the draw for the ATP's Next Gen Finals tennis tournament.
The ceremony on Sunday was supposed to highlight Milan's status in the fashion industry.
"The intention was to integrate Milan's rich heritage as one of the fashion capitals of the world," the ATP and sponsor Red Bull said in a statement. "However, our execution of the proceedings was in poor taste and unacceptable. We deeply regret this and will ensure that there is no repeat of anything like it in the future."
Earlier, two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo tweeted, "Disgrace," while Andy Murray's mother Judy added, "Awful."
Disgrace... <a href="https://t.co/5FnC45wUx7">https://t.co/5FnC45wUx7</a>—@AmeMauresmo
Awful. <a href="https://t.co/ECMf0tA7WC">https://t.co/ECMf0tA7WC</a>—@JudyMurray
Players were asked to select models who then revealed an "A" or a "B" to determine which group they will play in. One model pulled up her dress to reveal an "A" on her right thigh.
The Italian tennis federation declined comment, saying the ATP organized the draw ceremony.
The top seven 21-and-under players in the rankings plus one Italian wild-card entry qualified for the tournament, which starts Tuesday. The top-seeded players are Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov.
Top qualifier Alexander Zverev withdrew to focus on the main ATP finals next week in London.
Rublev, Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Chung Hyeon and Gianluigi Quinzi were drawn into Group A. Group B features Khachanov, Borna Coric, Jared Donaldson and Daniil Medvedev.