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French Open Director Under Fire For Saying Women's Tennis Isn't 'Appealing'

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French Open Director Under Fire For Saying Women's Tennis Isn't 'Appealing'

French Open tournament director and former world number one Amelie Mauresmo has faced criticism after claiming women’s tennis isn’t as 'appealing' as men's. 

With just one women’s match placed in the prime-time night slot out of the 10 days of the French Open, Mauresmo was questioned about the scheduling.

The former two-time grand slam champion, told reporters: “In this era that we are in right now, I don’t feel, and as a woman, former women’s player, I don’t feel bad or unfair saying that right now you have more attraction, more attractivity - can you say that? Appeal? - that’s the general, for the men’s matches.

Credit: Zuma Press / Alamy
Credit: Zuma Press / Alamy
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“My goal when I was doing the schedule every day was to try and see a match in the women’s draw that I can put there.

“Honestly, it was tough. It was tough for more than one night to find the match of the day.”

The only women’s match to be played in a night session of the French Open was the second round tie between French star Alize Cornet and Jelena Ostapenko. 

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal’s epic encounter with Novak Djokovic went to 1:15 am local time, with the Spaniard claiming victory.

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Current world number one, and the 2020 French Open champion, Iga Swiatek took exception to Mauresmo’s comments, claiming there were positives to the women’s game.

She told reporters on Wednesday (June 1): “It is a little bit disappointing and surprising.

“I want my tennis to be entertainment and I remember that I also play for people. Women’s tennis has a lot of advantages.

“Some may say that it’s unpredictable and girls are not consistent. But on the other hand, it may also be something that is really appealing and it may really attract more people.”

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Credit: Juergen Hasenkopf / Alamy.
Credit: Juergen Hasenkopf / Alamy.

Swiatek’s quarter-final opponent, American Jessica Pegula also commented on Mauresmo’s stance, saying it was not ‘something you wanted to hear’, while also maintaining that women’s tennis can be entertaining.

She told reporters: “To me, I feel like so many people love watching women’s tennis because we don’t have huge serves. We’re not acing. There’s not a lot of super, super quick points.

“There’s more rallies. There’s more drama.”

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The governing body of women’s tennis, the WTA, also weighed in on the conversation asking for improvements to the scheduling of the tournament. 

In a statement to Reuters, they said: “Our fans want to see the excitement and thrill of women’s tennis on the biggest stages and in the premium time slots.

"There is certainly room for improvement and if we want to build the value of our combined product, then a balanced match schedule is critical in providing that pathway."

Featured Image Credit: DPPI Media / Alamy. Roger Parker / Alamy.

Topics: Tennis, Australia

Jayden Collins
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