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French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo ran afoul of many in the tennis world when she said earlier this week that men’s tennis has more “appeal” than women’s tennis, and now she has issued a much-expected apology.
“First of all the comments that I made were taken out of the wider picture, out of the context,” the former Grand Slam champion told Tennis Channel on Thursday.
FILE – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, left, shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Friday, June 11, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Filer)
“And I want to say sorry to the players that really felt bad about what I said.”
Mauresmo explained that, by “appeal,” she meant that men’s matches are longer than women’s and therefore offer single evening event ticket holders more bang for their buck.
“Concerning the scheduling, specifically for the night matches, my say was that because we have one match only, it’s really tougher to schedule a woman’s match because we have to take into consideration the length,” Mauresmo said.
Camila Giorgi of Italy is seen in action against Daria Kasatkina of Russia during day nine of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 30, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
“It’s the fair thing to do for the ticketholders.”
Those ticket holders weren’t too happy about the length of the match on Tuesday night though, despite the fact that they witnessed reigning French Open champ Novak Djokovic fall 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 to rival star Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal. The match may have been exhilarating, but it lasted over four hours and ended after 1 am local time, preventing many spectators from using public transportation to return home.
According to his manager, Nadal wasn’t too happy about the evening match either, as he claims that cooler evening temperatures negatively affect his game.
FILE – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, left, and Spain’s Rafael Nadal look at each other as they pose for images prior to the final match of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
Still, because of the uproar over her comments, Mauresmo now says she thinks the tournament ought to make some adjustments next year to include women’s matches in primetime.
“Next year to be more fair to the women’s players it would be good to maybe have the possibility to put two matches or maybe a women’s match plus a doubles match,” she said.
Perhaps next year, Djokovic and Nadal could just identify as women and resolve the issue entirely.