Amelie Mauresmo – the newly appointed French Open tournament director – has come under fire for claiming that women’s tennis has less ‘appeal’ than the men’s game. The tennis world has been out in Paris this week for the second Grand Slam event of the year at Roland Garros.
The event’s new tournament director Mauresmo has endured a difficult start to her reign though, following a car-crash press conference in Paris on Wednesday. The tournament has come under heavy scrutiny following the late finishes of matches, after the clash between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal left broadcasters angered, and fans stranded without late night transport.
As well as addressing the late conclusion issue, Mauresmo was also quizzed on why only one of 10 night session matches were played by the women’s side of the tournament.
She controversially responded: “In this era that we are in, I don’t feel bad or unfair saying that right now you have more attraction, more attractivity [in] general, for the men’s matches.” In response to Mauresmo, women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek has hit back, describing the comments as ‘disappointing’ and ‘surprising’.
Swiatek said: “It is a little bit disappointing and surprising because she was also in the WTA. For sure I want to entertain and show my best tennis in every match. So I think it’s the personal opinion of every person if they like men’s tennis or women’s tennis more or if they like them equally, but I think women’s tennis has a lot of advantages. It’s unpredictable and girls are not consistent. It may also be something that is really appealing and it may really attract more people.”
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Mauresmo’s WTA jibe was not the only comment that left many tennis fans questioning the former Wimbledon champion’s post as the event’s director. Mauresmo herself seemingly admitted to feeling out of her depth when discussing Nadal and Djokovic’s 1:15am finish in Paris, which saw fans leave in their droves before the blockbuster clash had ended. She commented: “Obviously it’s not simple. It’s the first year that I’m the tournament director.
“I’m learning a lot of things regarding the scheduling of the tournament. Having such late matches could actually trigger some questions. I’m wondering about it myself, to be honest.” Addressing the problem surrounding fans being stranded from public transport, she went on: “That’s actually a key issue that needs to be settled, and that will be one of our priorities in the future.
What did you make of Mauresmo’s comments? Let us know in the comments section below.
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“We haven’t planned anything yet, but obviously we need to organise ourselves differently with bus systems, with the underground system. If we continue with these night sessions, people need to leave the stadium late enough and make sure that they have a way to come back home. We do not have the means to organise this for 15,000 people yet. For the moment, there is nothing.”
Unsurprisingly the players themselves were left less than impressed with the start times, as Djokovic said post match: “I think they [night sessions] are starting too late,” before Nadal added: “Television pays a lot of money to have matches that late [but] we need to find a balance.”