Amelie Mauresmo: Women’s tennis is less convincing

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PARIS – For 30 weeks in 2006, France’s Amelie Mauresmo was number one in the world, the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion that year.

But in her first year as French Open manager, Mauresmo didn’t prove to be the women’s tennis champion as many expected.

During a press conference at Roland Garros on Wednesday morning, Mauresmo, 42, defended her decision to schedule only one women’s game (compared to the men’s nine) for the new night sessions this year, saying that she currently found women’s tennis less and less attractive than the men’s.

“In the age we’re in now, I don’t feel—and as a woman, a former player, I don’t feel bad or unfair to say that you now have more attractiveness, more attractiveness—can you say that? Attraction?—for men’s matches,” Mauresmo said, and was asked about the gender imbalance in scheduling the night’s special at Stade Philippe Chatrier.

Rafael Nadal defeats Novak Djokovic in the French Open heavyweight quarter-finals

Mauresmo, who retired from the Pro Tour in 2009, went on to explain that when she was planning the daily schedule for the 15-day Grand Slam event, she looked for women’s matches most days that she felt had the star power and appeal of ticket-buyers and broadcasters alike.

“I admit it was difficult,” Mauresmo said.

“My goal was when I was doing the schedule every day to try and see, and from the first rounds, from the first round, when the lottery went out, to try and figure out which match in the women’s lottery I could put there, frankly she said.” You know, you have all these criteria.”

The only women’s match chosen by Mauresmo for the special night session, which is scheduled to begin at 8:45pm local time, was a second-round clash between veteran French player Alize Cornet and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

“It was difficult for more than one night to find, as I said, today’s match,” Mauresmo said. “When you have this – it’s interesting, because as I was saying, the fact that it’s now a one-night game is hard on this. It’s tough.”

Mauresmo was appointed manager of Roland Garros by the French Tennis Federation in December 2021. Her contract runs until the 2024 French Open.

She is the second woman to win a Grand Slam in the sport. The US Open appointed Stacey Allister as its first female coach in June 2020. Mauresmo has also expanded the role of women in tennis as coach of former top-ranked Andy Murray for some time.

The issue of the schedule for this year’s French Open has become an important point of contention for players and fans alike.

Tuesday highly anticipated quarter-finals between 13-time French Open champion and defending champion Novak Djokovic It didn’t start until 9pm in Paris. This was the scheduled start time, to meet broadcasters’ requests, rather than the unrecorded late start, which had been imposed by previous late matches.

With the men’s Grand Slam matches competing in the best of five-set form, it could easily last more than four hours, as Nadal did with his four-set win, which he wrapped up in the tiebreak after four hours and 12 minutes.

Women’s tennis has seen a massive exodus of top names in the past 12 months.

Serena Williams, the sport’s 23-times Grand Slam champion, has not competed in 11 months, not since losing in the first round at Wimbledon last year. Now 40, she has yet to announce plans for her return to the game.

In March, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, three-time Grand Slam champion, The sport was shocked by its sudden retirementat the age of 25, just months after winning the Australian Open.

Mauresmo’s 16-year professional career (1993-2009) intertwined with many of the game’s most marketable stars in recent decades, including Venus, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.