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Roland-Garros tournament director Mauresmo quizzed on lack of night sessions for women


PARIS (AP) — Scheduling more night sessions for women is proving a tough issue to resolve for French Open tournament director Amélie Mauresmo.

Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam winner, was asked at her tournament-ending news conference Sunday if she was comfortable with the equality in the scheduling at Roland Garros this year. Only one of the 10 night sessions involved women.

“I’m comfortable with the scheduling on the day, but yes, we can do better on the night matches,” Mauresmo said. “My point is this year that we put definitely way more woman matches on the prime slots in 2023. It doesn’t make it perfect yet, because of these night matches that are unique.”

Mauresmo was asked about comments made by American Jessica Pegula, who lamented the lack of women’s matches in the night sessions in an online column Wednesday for British broadcaster BBC.

“Only one of the 10 night sessions featured WTA players — that was when Aryna Sabalenka played Sloane Stephens in the fourth round,” the third-ranked Peugula wrote. “Last year, when there was also only one women’s night match, we spoke to tournament organisers about it. That makes this year more disappointing because we tried to address it. We haven’t seen any improvement."

Mauresmo, who was briefly ranked No. 1 in her career, said she understood Pegula's frustration but also explained that some women requested not to play at night.

“I hear that she’s disappointed with that," Mauresmo said. “I just also want to say that some of the high-profile players, that are women’s players I’m talking about, that would be our choices to put in the night matches, are not really keen to go at night and are having different requests.”

Mauresmo pointed to issues with timing and late finishes as to why there are not two night-session matches — one for men and one for women.

“Because when you look at it, a men’s match that goes in straight sets, it’s still around probably between one hour 45, two hours, maybe a bit more,” she said. “It makes it difficult to schedule something else, in fact ... (Because for) the second match, you don’t know when you start and you don’t know especially what time you’re gonna finish. We don’t want the players to finish at 2, 3, 4 in the morning. This is not something we want to see here."

Night sessions started 30 minutes earlier this year after players had complained about facing transport issues when there were late finishes.

“Yes, putting a second women’s match, if we talk about length, why not?” she said. “But what if the first match then ends up to be two-and-a-half hours? So there is no perfect plan.”

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