Sky sports’ tennis poster controversy: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, and Aryna Sabalenka exclusion sparks fan outcry

Sky Sports poster uproar: Excludes Djokovic, Alcaraz, and Sabalenka, upsetting fans, prompting outcry over player representation.

Sky Sports' Tennis Poster Controversy: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, And Aryna Sabalenka Exclusion Sparks Fan Outcry

Tennis enthusiasts worldwide have expressed disappointment and disbelief following the release of a promotional poster by Sky Sports, which has sparked controversy due to the exclusion of several top-ranked players. The poster, heralding a new era for the channel’s exclusive tennis coverage, features notable names from the sport, yet glaringly omits prominent figures like Aryna Sabalenka and Daniil Medvedev.

The upheaval erupted after Sky Sports announced an extensive five-year agreement with the ATP and WTA Tours, securing exclusive broadcasting rights across several European regions, including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, along with non-exclusive rights in select areas.

The deal pledges an impressive coverage of over 4000 tennis matches spanning 80 tournaments each season, commencing in 2024. Encompassing an array of events, from the ATP and WTA year-end championships to the Next Gen ATP Finals and various 250s, 500s, and Masters 1000s tournaments, the agreement aims to bring a comprehensive tennis experience to viewers.

To herald this monumental partnership, Sky Sports released a promotional poster featuring an ensemble of tennis stars, headlined by World No. 1s Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek. However, the absence of Belarusian powerhouse Aryna Sabalenka, along with Russian talents Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, both residing within the top 5 of their respective rankings, raised eyebrows among fans and pundits alike.

The exclusion of these prominent figures triggered a wave of discontent among tennis enthusiasts, who took to social media, to express their dismay. One fan expressed astonishment, remarking, “No Aryna Sabalenka or any Russian players, but hey, there’s the superstar Burrage. Also, Gauff being 1/3 of the poster… lord help us all cause the Wimbledon is gonna be unbearable and mind you, it already was this year ffs.”

Furthermore, concerns were voiced regarding the perceived imbalance in prominence given to certain players. Fans pointed out the apparent disparity in featuring World No. 3 Coco Gauff and World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz more prominently than the top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek. Another fan shared their apprehension, stating, “Looking at this poster… I fear for the quality of it Alcaraz and Gauff being shown more prominently than Djokovic and Swiatek (both ATP and WTA number 1, respectively). No Sabalenka (WTA number 2), and no Medvedev (ATP number 3). Good luck tennis fans.”

The backlash continued with numerous fans expressing their disappointment at the oversight, underscoring the significance of featuring top-ranked players in promotional materials for an inclusive representation of the sport.

Sky Sports’ promotional poster, intended to celebrate the channel’s forthcoming tennis coverage, has inadvertently sparked controversy and prompted discussions on the criteria for player inclusion. As anticipation builds for the comprehensive coverage promised by Sky Sports, the controversy surrounding the poster serves as a stark reminder of the diverse perspectives and expectations within the vibrant tennis community.

Novak Djokovic in 2023

Novak Djokovic

7 - 2win/loss

36 year old
2024 Highlights

Now the world no.1, Novak played his last match on the 25th of November when he lost to world no.4 Jannik Sinner 6-2 2-6 7-5 in the Rubber 2 of the Davis Cup (draw).

Currently, during this year Novak has achieved an overall 56-7 record. The Serbian clinched 7 titles in 2023 in Adelaide, Australian Open, French Open, Cincinnati, U.S. Open, Paris and the Nitto ATP Finals. Novak was the runner-up in Wimbledon.

Davis Cup
Djokovic's Record

Carlos Alcaraz in 2023

Carlos Alcaraz

6 - 3win/loss

20 year old
2024 Highlights

Now ranked no.2, Carlos played his last match on the 18th of November when he lost to world no.1 Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 in the semifinal in the Nitto ATP Finals (draw).

This year the Spaniard has a composed 65-12 record. The Spaniard clinched 6 titles in 2023 in Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, Barcelona, Madrid, London and Wimbledon. Alcaraz was the finalist in Rio de Janeiro and Cincinnati.

the Nitto ATP Finals
Alcaraz's Record

Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz faced off 5 times. Their actual record is 3-2 for Djokovic. The last time they locked horns, Novak Djokovic won 6-3 6-2 in the semifinal in Turin (Nitto ATP Finals) on the 18th of November 2023.

In the following video you can watch the key moments of their match.


Aryna Sabalenka in 2023

Aryna Sabalenka

11 - 2win/loss

25 year old
2024 Highlights

Ranked no.2, the Belarussian played her last match on the 5th of November when she was defeated by world no.1 Iga Swiatek 6-3 6-2 in the semifinal in Cancun (draw).

Presently, during this year Sabalenka has a 55-14 record. The Belarussian has won 3 titles in 2023 in Adelaide, Australian Open and Madrid. Sabalenka was the runner-up in Indian Wells, in Stuttgart and at the U.S. Open.

Sabalenka's Record