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PARIS — For 30 weeks in 2006, France’s Amélie Mauresmo was ranked No. 1 on the planet, a champion of that 12 months’s Australian Open and Wimbledon.

However in her first 12 months because the French Open’s match director, Mauresmo has not proved to be the champion of girls’s tennis that many anticipated.

Throughout a information convention Wednesday morning at Roland Garros, Mauresmo, 42, defended her resolution to schedule just one girls’s match (in contrast with 9 for males) for night time classes, saying she at the moment finds girls’s tennis much less enticing and fewer interesting than males’s.

“On this period that we’re in proper now, I don’t really feel — and as a lady, former girls’s participant, I don’t really feel dangerous or unfair saying that proper now you could have extra attraction, extra attractivity — Are you able to say that? Enchantment? — for the boys’s matches,” Mauresmo stated when requested in regards to the gender imbalance within the scheduling of the featured night time matches.

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High-ranked Iga Swiatek referred to as Mauresmo’s feedback “slightly bit disappointing.”

Swiatek, a 21-year-old who prolonged her profitable streak to 33 matches with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over American Jessica Pegula to clinch a spot within the semifinals, stated she believes the query of whether or not males’s tennis is extra attention-grabbing is a matter of opinion.

“I believe girls’s tennis has quite a lot of benefits,” she stated. “Some might say [that] it’s unpredictable, and ladies will not be constant. However alternatively, it might even be one thing that … might actually entice extra individuals. … For positive I wish to entertain, and I additionally wish to present my finest tennis on each match. However, yeah, [Mauresmo’s remarks were] slightly bit disappointing.”

Pegula, 28, who will transfer into the highest 10 of the rankings after her career-best French Open outcome, additionally characterised Mauresmo’s remark as “disappointing.”

“It’s not one thing you wish to hear,” the No. 11 seed stated. “I believe on the identical time we have to have probabilities to have actually good matches to point out that it’s a good product as effectively.”

Pegula, who’s within the girls’s doubles semifinals with Coco Gauff, stated she thought the depth in girls’s tennis was an asset, together with gamers’ personalities that she felt followers would take pleasure in if given the prospect to get to know them.

“I really feel like so many individuals love watching girls’s tennis as a result of, you realize, we don’t have enormous serves. We’re not acing,” Pegula stated. “There’s not quite a lot of tremendous, tremendous fast factors. There’s extra rallies. There’s extra drama.”

That is the primary 12 months the French Open is staging night time classes — 10 in all — and requiring followers to purchase a separate ticket to attend. Just one match is contested through the night time session — the so-called “Match of the Day,” which is staged on 15,000-seat Court docket Philippe-Chatrier and doesn’t start till 8:45 p.m.

Dissatisfaction with scheduling amongst gamers and followers alike was obvious within the first week of the match. It got here to a head following Tuesday’s males’s quarterfinal between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which didn’t begin till 9 p.m. and ended at 1:15 a.m. Afterward, Nadal and Djokovic stated they felt 9 p.m. was too late to start out a best-of-five-sets match.

Mauresmo’s scheduling additionally raised questions of gender bias. She selected 9 males’s matches and one girls’s match because the featured nighttime match, successfully rendering a lot of the girls’s matches because the “undercard” to the boys’s predominant occasion.

Pam Shriver, a 22-time Grand Slam doubles champion, stated she understood that the match director’s position is to make sure the occasion’s monetary well being, and he or she may see an argument for favoring best-of-five-sets matches throughout night time classes if just one match have been provided.

“However one girls’s match to 9 males’s?” she requested. “That’s ridiculous.”

Shriver questioned why none of Swiatek’s matches have been chosen for an evening session, given her rating and profitable streak, which has been eclipsed this century solely by Venus Williams’s 35 straight victories (2000) and Serena Williams’s 34 (2013). What troubled Shriver most was the rationale Mauresmo gave.

“Why did she should insult girls’s tennis?” Shriver requested. “It actually hurts to have an alumni participant, who’s now a match director, who made historical past as a feminine coach of a high males’s participant [Andy Murray], actually diss girls’s tennis the way in which she did. … This can be a two-time main winner, somebody who’s within the Corridor of Fame, who’s crossing a line that isn’t acceptable. It was not mandatory. … Her phrases at present have been inexcusable for a frontrunner.”

Mauresmo’s feedback got here throughout a information convention by which she was requested about her scheduling selections. She defined that when she was planning the every day schedule for the 15-day occasion, she seemed for girls’s matches that she felt had star energy and enchantment for ticket-buyers and broadcasters alike.

“I admit, it was powerful,” Mauresmo stated.

The lone girls’s match Mauresmo selected for the night time session was a second-round conflict between French veteran Alizé Cornet and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

“It was powerful for a couple of night time to search out, as you say, the match of the day,” Mauresmo stated. “When you could have this — it’s an attention-grabbing one, as a result of as I used to be saying, the truth that it’s proper now a one-match night time session is hard on this. It’s powerful.”

Mauresmo’s professional profession, which ran from 1993 to 2009, overlapped that of most of the girls’s recreation’s most marketable stars, together with the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova. After retiring, she expanded girls’s roles in tennis as coach of former world No. 1 Murray. In December, she was named director of the French Open by the French Tennis Federation. She is the second lady to take the reins of one of many sport’s Grand Slams; the U.S. Open named Stacey Allaster its first feminine match director in 2020.

Girls’s tennis has had an exodus of high expertise previously 12 months. Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, hasn’t competed since her first-round loss at Wimbledon final 12 months. Now 40, she has but to announce plans for her return.

In March, Ashleigh Barty, a three-time Grand Slam champion, shocked the game together with her abrupt retirement at 25 whereas the world’s top-ranked participant. Her resolution got here simply months after profitable the Australian Open.

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