‘I want to say sorry to the players that really felt bad about what I said’
IMAGE: Iga Swiatek and Amelie Mauresmo stand in tribute to Billie Jean King on the 50th Anniversary of her Roland Garros Triumph. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo has apologised for saying women’s tennis is not as appealing as the men’s game, adding that her comments were taken out of context.
The remarks were made as eyebrows were raised about scheduling of matches. One night match has been on the programme of the claycourt Grand Slam every day at 2100 local time (1900GMT) from the first Monday until the quarter-finals.
However, nine out of the 10 games scheduled as a night session have been men’s matches, raising questions about how women have been getting the short end of the stick at major tournaments.
In response to questions about scheduling, Mauresmo said men’s matches have more ‘appeal’.
“First of all the comments that I made were taken out of the wider picture, out of the context,” former Grand Slam champion Mauresmo told Tennis Channel on Thursday.
“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.”
Mauresmo said that it was difficult to put only women’s players on the schedule for spectators with a single ticket for the evening only, adding that the tournament would look into tweaking the format next year.
“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,” Mauresmo said.
“It’s the fair thing to do for the ticketholders.”
“Next year to be more fair to the women’s players it would be good to maybe have the possibility to put two matches or maybe a women’s match plus a doubles match.”