schedules, station, galleys, atmosphere … what are the results of this year’s night sessions?

There has been a lot of criticism of the Roland-Garros “night sessions”, these matches scheduled from 9pm on the Philippe-Chatrier track with a single box office. However, the atmosphere and the show were there.

Born in 2021, Roland-Garros night sessions are back, without the limitations associated with the coronavirus pandemic. The Philippe-Chatrier center court hosted ten matches from 9pm, including the titanic Nadal-Djokovic in the quarter-finals. A prestigious duel that highlighted certain criticisms, problems, but also positive points of what is the result of the last tender for emission rights. In addition to increasing revenue with an additional station, Prime Video here, this recent creation in Paris, but an old tradition at the US Open and the Australian Open, is increasing revenue for the French Federation of Tennis (FFT).

· Good quality matches with atmosphere

Musetti-Tsitsipas, Rune-Gaston, Djokovic-Nadal, Ruud-Rune … The program has reserved several well-done matches for the spectators of the evening sessions, which sometimes spend several hundred euros for a single match (unlike of a daily ticket that gives access to several signs on the central track).

The atmosphere was especially remarkable for the clash of the Titans between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but also during Hugo Gaston’s challenge against Holger Rune. “The evening sessions, when you’re in the stadium, for me, the interest is obvious. It was full every evening,” welcomed Amélie Mauresmo, director of the tournament, without stopping to remember that “the stadium was full “at the end. of the Nadal-Djokovic duel around 1:20 p.m.

The president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, sees in this program “a questioning” to reach an audience “working” and can therefore take advantage of the schedule to go to matches. A way to “reach a new audience”.

・ Not all players liked it

While some players see the evening sessions “as a privilege”, others have been much more critical. “You have to find the right balance,” said Rafael Nadal, who does not value temperature drops (below 10 ° C) and rising humidity when the sun sets. “Starting the game at 9pm, on clay, in the best of five sets, can end very late,” he also stressed, before fighting for Novak Djokovic at 4:12.

“I think they start too late, honestly,” said the Serb. “But again, television decides. It’s the world we live in.

Criticism heard by Amélie Mauresmo, who understands that physical recovery can be a problem for a player who qualifies too late: “The schedule of matches in the afternoon can raise questions from this point of view.”

Mostly men’s matches

Of the ten nightly sessions of the program, nine were men’s matches, only one in the women’s tournament (Alizé Cornet vs. Jeļena Ostapenko on May 26). This has fueled criticism from advocates of women’s representation in sport.

“In our time, and as a woman, also as a former player, I don’t feel bad. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that there are currently more attractions for men’s games,” said Amélie Mauresmo, who is limited by being able to schedule only one night game, not two like the US Open (which usually features a women’s game and a men’s game). “My goal when I started the day-to-day programming was to try to see, and from the first rounds when the draw fell, what would be the matches of the women’s draw that could be shown in the session. (…) I admit, it was hard to find “, added the French leader.

“It’s a bit disappointing and surprising,” said current world number one Poland’s Iga Swiatek. “It’s a matter of personal taste to prefer men’s or women’s tennis or to appreciate them equally, he continued. Women’s tennis has many assets. Some say it’s unpredictable and that players have no consistency. attractive qualities “.

· Conflict with France Télévisions

The nightly programming of the Nadal-Djokovic quarter-finals was to the detriment of France Télévisions, a historic partner of the tournament. The decision has, according to Le Figaro, aroused the wrath of Delphine Ernotte, president of the public group. “This decision by the French Tennis Federation deeply shocks me,” he said. unimaginable in the United States.

To limit criticism of the sport becoming less and less accessible on television, Amazon has made the game free on its Prime Video platform. Also a way to sign a good advertising trick.

· Logistical problems for spectators

Amélie Mauresmo has identified a “key point” to address for the coming years. The end of the Nadal-Djokovic match after 1am in the middle of the week caused major problems for spectators to return home. Because at the moment, the Paris metro service is no longer working. Due to the large influx of people at the stadium, the prices of taxis and VTCs have skyrocketed in the sector. “I just got back from Roland-Garros. Taxis were asking for 95 euros for two km. We went back on foot,” lamented a private Internet user.

“Today we do not have the means to organize something for the 15,000 people who leave,” admitted Mauresmo, who nevertheless pledged to seek solutions for the future. He mentioned in particular future discussions with the Ille-de-France public authorities to “perhaps push the metro or bus system further”.

Leave a Comment