The WTA has been fighting for equality for decades and even today women’s tennis players are often faced with beliefs that men’s game is superior and more entertaining. Female athletes work hard to prove themselves in the men’s world and earn equal treatment, so it comes as a huge surprise that former WTA number one Amelie Mauresmo, currently the French Open tournament director, is stating that men’s tennis has more star power and therefore deserves better scheduling.
When asked why nine out of the ten night sessions at this year’s Roland Garros involved men’s matches, the two-time Grand Slam champion Mauresmo replied that right now men’s tennis has more appeal. In her first year as the French Open director, Mauresmo explained that she wanted to balance the schedule, but struggled to find enough attractive women’s match-ups for night sessions.
The only ladies’ encounter that got the prime-time treatment was home star Alize Cornet vs. former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in the second round. Ticket sales and viewership were most probably the priorities that Mauresmo had in mind when composing the schedule and her conclusion was obviously that men’s clashes bring more benefit to the event.
The French Open’s first female tournament director admitted that the decision-making process was tough. What made the situation even more difficult was the fact that night sessions in Paris feature just one match, so it was more difficult for it to be a women’s match.
Not surprisingly, Mauresmo’s statements haven’t received a warm welcome in the WTA world. After advancing to the semifinals in Paris, world No.1 Iga Swiatek said that Mauresmo’s stance was “a little bit disappointing and surprising.”
It’s kind of 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. And 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.