Roland-Garros controversy: Ons Jabeur criticizes late night schedules and lack of women’s matches

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Ons Jabeur has voiced her frustrations regarding the scheduling at Roland-Garros, particularly the lack of women’s matches in the night sessions.

Following her quarterfinal loss to Coco Gauff, Jabeur did not hold back on her criticism of the current programming choices.

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Rare night matches for women

The trend of excluding women’s matches from the night sessions at Roland-Garros has become increasingly noticeable. Since the 2021 introduction of night sessions, which start around 8:30 PM, only four out of 40 scheduled matches have been women’s games. This year, there were no women’s matches scheduled for the evening slot, which has sparked criticism from players and fans alike.

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Jabeur’s discontent

Jabeur, after her defeat to Gauff with a score of 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, expressed her discontent during the press conference. “It’s the 10th day, and I no longer expect to see women’s matches in the night sessions,” she stated. Playing a quarterfinal at 11 AM was also a point of contention for her. She mentioned, “Playing in the afternoon is better. The stadium is full at the top, but as usual, the VIP section is the same. Honestly, I hope the contract with Prime can be renegotiated because I don’t understand what’s happening.”

Player preferences and scheduling dilemmas

While some players, like Gaël Monfils, enjoy the night sessions, others prefer daytime matches. World number one, Iga Swiatek, reiterated her preference for daytime play to maintain a regular sleep schedule. “I like playing during the day, so this schedule works for me,” Swiatek said after her semifinal qualification. Despite her preferences, Swiatek acknowledged that scheduling decisions are complex and involve numerous factors and player requests.

High-profile matches missed in night sessions

Swiatek’s second-round match against Naomi Osaka, a thrilling contest that almost saw the top seed eliminated, was notably absent from the night session lineup. Tournament director Amélie Mauresmo expressed her disappointment at not seeing such a high-profile match scheduled for the evening. “I am disappointed that a match like Swiatek-Osaka was not in a night session, but it’s not solely our decision.”

Comparing Grand Slam schedules

The scheduling practices at Roland-Garros differ from those of other Grand Slam tournaments. The Australian Open and the US Open, for example, start their night sessions at 7 PM local time and include both a men’s and a women’s match. This approach, however, doesn’t always prevent late finishes. Wimbledon remains the exception, enforcing a curfew at 11 PM to avoid disturbing the neighborhood.

Broadcaster influence and match durations

Prime Video, the broadcaster, also plays a role in these decisions. The concern is that women’s matches, which are best-of-three sets, tend to be shorter than the men’s best-of-five. This, however, doesn’t justify the exclusion according to Jabeur. “Playing past midnight is not healthy for anyone. We saw Novak suffer from knee issues due to poor recovery. Both male and female players deserve better. We discussed this in Australia, and now here too. It’s not even healthy for you journalists,” Jabeur remarked. She called for a balanced solution that satisfies everyone involved.

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This article explores Ons Jabeur’s criticism of the scheduling at Roland-Garros, focusing on the lack of women’s matches in the night sessions and the issues with late match timings. Jabeur’s comments highlight the ongoing debate about fair programming practices and the need for a solution that benefits players, fans, and journalists alike. Comparing the practices of other Grand Slam tournaments provides context to the controversy, emphasizing the unique challenges faced at Roland-Garros.

Guillaume Aigron
Guillaume Aigron
Hello! I'm Guillaume Aigron ! I share my love for all things sports. From the thrilling rallies of tennis to the dynamic plays of football, my blog explores the wide world of sports through detailed analysis, personal anecdotes, and the latest news. As a lifelong sports fan, I've transformed my enthusiasm into a platform for fellow enthusiasts who appreciate not just the games themselves, but the stories and strategies behind them. Join me as we celebrate the spirit of competition and the joy of sportsmanship through every post!

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