Amelie Mauresmo: “Women’s tennis has less appeal” than men’s tennis

Amelie Mauresmo: “Women’s tennis has less appeal” than men’s tennis

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PARIS – Amélie Mauresmo, a former No. 1 player who is in her first year as the first women’s tournament director at Roland Garros, said on Wednesday that nine of the 10 night sessions at Roland Garros involved men’s matches because tennis feminine currently has less “appeal”. ”

Speaking at the traditional week two press conference to recap the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, Mauresmo said she was trying daily to find a female pairing that had star power or a match worthy of be highlighted in the separate session which began at 8:45 p.m. local time at Court Philippe Chatrier.

“I admit it was tough,” said Mauresmo, a 42-year-old Frenchwoman who first topped the WTA rankings in 2004 and came back to that spot after winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon. in 2006.

His last major tournament was the 2009 US Open. After retiring as a player, Mauresmo became a coach and worked with Andy Murray, Lucas Pouille and Marion Bartoli, among others, and captained France for the team competition now called the Billie Jean King Cup.

This year’s French Open started on May 22 and will end on Sunday. The last of 10 night sessions was scheduled for Wednesday, and the only women’s game that was treated to prime time – as part of a deal with a streaming service – was France’s Alizé Cornet’s victory over Jelena Ostapenko. in the second round.

Asked about this decision-making process, Mauresmo said in French that having only one game in each night session made it “more difficult to have” that it was only a women’s game. Night sessions at the US Open, for example, usually include a women’s match and a men’s match.

“In this era that we find ourselves in right now, I don’t think – and as a woman, a former women’s player, I don’t feel wrong or unfair to say this, right now – you have more… of allure,” Mauresmo said. “That’s the general (reasons) for men’s games.”

She added: “My goal was, when I was doing the planning every day, to try to see, from the first round, when the draw was coming out… ‘what game in the women’s draw can I put in it. ?’ frankly.”

Her session with journalists took place the morning after the 13-time Roland-Garros champion Rafael Nadal quarter-final win 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) over defending champion Novak Djokovic during the Tuesday evening session. The game lasted 4 hours 12 minutes and ended after 1 a.m. Wednesday, leaving some of the roughly 15,000 spectators unable to use public transport to get home.

“It’s actually a key issue that needs to be addressed, and it will be one of our priorities going forward,” Mauresmo said. “We haven’t planned anything yet, but obviously we have to organize ourselves differently with the DG Transport in Paris with the bus systems, with the metro. If we continue these night sessions in this way, people have to leave the stadium quite late and make sure they have a way to get home, as they should.

Nadal, through the media, and his manager, Carlos Costa, directly with Mauresmo, have made it clear that the owner of 21 Grand Slam titles prefers not to play at night, due to how the cooler temperatures affect his shots. It fell below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) in its quarter-final.

Asked about it, Mauresmo deflected the question and replied: “Rafa showed us what a great champion he is, way beyond all these considerations.”

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