French Open: ‘Unfair and inappropriate’ change to women’s schedule criticized

The French Open’s decision to relocate the women’s singles semifinals away from Roland Garros’ main court has been labeled “unfair and inappropriate” by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

With no play possible on Wednesday due to rain, the semifinals were pushed to Friday — the same day as the men’s singles semifinals.

And with rain forecast for Friday as well, organizers have decided to move the semifinals away from the French Open’s 15,000-capacity main court — Court Philippe Chatrier — to smaller courts.

Johanna Konta’s meeting with Marketa Vondrousova will take place on Court Simonne Mathieu, while Ashleigh Barty and Amanda Anisimova will meet on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

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But WTA CEO Steve Simon has expressed his disappointment at the decision made by the schedule makers.

“There’s no doubt that scheduling has been challenged by weather conditions and the WTA understands the scheduling issues presented at Roland Garros,” said Simon.

“We are, however, extremely disappointed by the scheduling of both women’s semifinals on outside courts. This decision is unfair and inappropriate.

“The four women who have played so well and made it this far have earned their right to play on the biggest stage.

“We believe other solutions were possible which would have been to the benefit of fans as well as all players.”

The two women’s semifinals kicked off at 10:00am BST on Friday, whilst Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal start at 11.50am BST on Philippe Chatrier.

Court Suzanne Lenglen has a capacity of 10,000 and is Roland Garros’ second show court, while the newly-opened Court Simonne Mathieu — with a capacity of 5,000 — is the tournament’s third show court.

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“The tournament organizers have decided to schedule both women’s semifinals at the same time on the same day for fairness reasons,” said a statement from the French Tennis Federation.

“The decision to hold these matches on Court Suzanne Lenglen and Court Simonne Mathieu instead of Court Philippe Chatrier was a logical one, because the first men’s semi-final is scheduled to start at 12:50 pm on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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“If a women’s semifinal was also held on Court Philippe Chatrier, the first men’s semifinal would most probably start late, with the risk that the second semifinal would not be completed. This would create fairness issues.

“This decision allows as many spectators as possible to attend two prestigious matches on Court Suzanne-Lenglen and Court Simonne-Mathieu, for only €20 ($22.50).

“In addition, the weather conditions mean that we do not wish to take any risks.”