Amelie Mauresmo, the first female French Open boss, apologises after saying men’s tennis is more appealing than women’s | World News


Andy Murray’s former coach has apologised after saying women’s tennis is less appealing than men’s, adding it was taken out of context.

Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo, the French Open boss, made the remarks as she explained why only one out of 10 night sessions featured women in the major tennis tournament, known as Roland-Garros.

Speaking at a news conference to recap the second week of the tournament, the former tennis champion said: “In this era that we are in right now…I don’t feel bad or unfair saying that – you have more attraction, appeal [in] general, for the men’s matches.”

She added it was “tough” trying to find a women’s pairing on a daily basis that had the super power or a matchup worthy of being highlighted in the separate session.

The French Open started on 22 May and the night sessions were introduced for the first time in 2021 and require fans to buy separate tickets to attend.

The French decided on only one match in the night session instead of two like other usual Grand Slam events.

The so-called “Match of the day” takes place at Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris at 8:45pm, allowing fans to join the buzzing atmosphere in person after a working day.

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Iga Swiatek, the current world number one, said the comments were “disappointing and surprising”.

The 21-year-old has a winning streak of 33 matches, the longest on tour since Serena Williams, who has not competed since being injured at Wimbledon nearly a year ago.

Mauresmo apologised on Thursday when she spoke to Tennis Channel, an American network saying, “First of all the comments that I made were taken out of the wider picture, out of the context.

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“I want to say sorry to the players that really felt bad about what I said.”

Mauresmo, who is the first woman to become the French Open’s tournament director, insisted men’s matches were given priority in the showpiece night sessions because women’s matches are shorter.

She said: “Concerning the scheduling, specifically for the night matches, my say was that because we have one match only it’s really tougher to schedule a woman’s match, because we have to take into consideration the length.

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The 42-year-old added: “I feel it’s the fair kind of thing to do for the ticket holders.

“Next year…to be more fair…it would be good to maybe have the possibility to put on two matches, or maybe a women’s match plus a doubles match, to try to find a better solution to be fair to everyone.”

The night sessions have also had criticism from Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who say the sessions “start too late”.

Mauresmo, the former number one’s last major tournament was the U.S. Open in 2009, and she later became a coach.

She has worked with Andy Murray, Lucas Pouille and Marion Bartoli among others.

The French Open this year will end on Sunday.


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