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Mauresmo on Night Fight: Stars and Match-Ups Matter

Mauresmo on Night Fight: Stars and Match-Ups Matter

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Monday, June 10, 2024
Photo credit: AP

Roland Garros pulled the plug on women’s night sessions this year.

Night sightlines may not change dramatically next year either, said Roland Garros tournament director Amélie Mauresmo.

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In her post-tournament presser, Mauresmo was asked why all Roland Garros night sessions featured men’s matches and no women’s matches.

Hall of Famer Mauresmo said since the tournament only schedules one match at night, the decision comes down to two primary factors:

1. Does the match feature a star player who can fill Court Philippe Chatrier stadium?

2. Will the match be compelling and how long will it last?

“Well, we only have one match, and we have constraints given the time it takes to play a match,” Mauresmo told the media in Paris. “I repeat what I said last year. First, we have the big names that we’re looking for. We’re looking for the best players to play at night in the evening.

“Then the time that the match will last, that’s what we try and guarantee for the spectators in the evening. But nothing’s engraved in stone. Things can change. It’s one single match that we play at night, and therefore we have to make choices. That’s why this year we wanted to have only men playing at night.”

You can understand why tournament organizers would not want a 68-minute blow-out that world No. 1 Iga Swiatek unleashed on Jasmine Paolini in the final as the sole night session match—particularly since Mauresmo banned booze sales within stadiums after Belgian David Goffin reported a fan spit at him.

Othe other hand, Swiatek’s spirited comeback from 2-5 down in the final set saving match point to edge Naomi Osaka in the second round was one of the most pulsating matches of the tournament and spanned two hours, 57 minutes.

Some players, including Daniil Medvedev, suggested host broadcaster Amazon dictates, or least plays a major role, in night-session scheduling decisions.

Former Wimbledon winner Mauresmo shot down suggestions that Amazon asked for a women’s night match replying “No, no, no. Not at all.”

So what’s the solution?

Mauresmo said the tournament has considered going to two night-session matches, as the US Open does at Arthur Ashe Stadium, however due to the notoriously tardy Parisian fan base, she suggests it could mean thousands of empty seats at the start, which creates another issue.

“We asked ourselves the questions two years…

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