French Open official ‘sorry’ for slate ‘appeal’ flap

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French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo has apologized for comments made on Wednesday where she said men’s matches had more “appeal” than women’s.

Mauresmo was fielding questions about why there were nine men’s matches in the prime evening slot in Paris, compared to just one women’s match.

“In this era that we are in right now, I don’t feel — and as a woman, former women’s player, I don’t feel bad or unfair saying that — right now you have more … appeal,” Mauresmo said Wednesday. “That’s the general [reason] for the men’s matches.”

The current world No.1 Iga Swiatek said she found Mauresmo’s comments “disappointing” and “surprising.”

Following criticism, Mauresmo issued an apology during an interview with Tennis Channel.

“First of all, the comments that I made were taken out of the wider picture, out of the context,” Mauresmo said. “And I want to say sorry to the players that really felt bad about what I said. Again, I think the people who know me, who’ve known me on and off the court, throughout my career, throughout everything that I’ve done, know that I’m a big fighter for equal rights and women’s tennis, women in general.

“Concerning the scheduling, specifically for the night matches, my say was that because we have one match only, the ticket holders, I feel that it’s really tougher to schedule a women’s match because we have to take into consideration the length [of the match], I feel. I feel it’s the fair kind of thing to do for the ticketholders.”

Mauresmo will conduct a full tournament review after this year’s French Open finishes and she said they may double up women’s matches next year.

“So I feel that next year in order to be able to be more fair to the women’s player, as well as to both categories actually, it would be good to maybe have the possibility to put two matches or maybe a women’s match plus a doubles match,” Mauresmo said.

“Try to find a better solution to be fair to everyone. We tried to modernize the event. We tried to move forward, and I can see that there are some adjustments to be made. That’s for sure. And we’re going to talk about it after the tournament.”

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