Tennis. Evening sessions, active and problem for Roland-Garros

An electric atmosphere

The players and especially the players have been able to see it this year at Roland-Garros: the night audience is less civilized than the day audience. And the atmosphere is affected.

“I saw some really good vibes in those night sessions. We didn’t know exactly where we were going, but the result is still there,” Amélie Mauresmo, the tournament’s director, began by taking stock of this 2022 edition.

Increasing revenue

Organizers will be able to rejoice at the rise of television rights, nerves of war in an increasingly competitive sports economy. Especially because Roland-Garros suffers in surface and ability compared to the other three Grand Slam tournaments.

The President of the French Federation, Gilles Moretton, was delighted with the increase in revenue. For the first time we will exceed 300 million euros in turnover, while in 2019, the last “normal” edition (before Covid), we were at 262 million. The number of viewers is also logically increasing, from 519,000 in 2019 to 613,500 this year. Selling differentiated tickets for the evening sessions is certainly no stranger to this increase.

But the release of this evening’s poster in a paid package (Amazon Prime Video) raises the question of the accessibility of tennis to as many people as possible. An argument that is often raised by the civil service to try to influence the choice of programming. “This exhibition can be really problematic, although we have seen it, there are also ways to make it accessible, beyond Nadal-Djokovic,” said Amélie Mauresmo.

Totally different game conditions

Is Roland-Garros a night tournament? The debate is not resolved. What is certain, however, is that the clay, the “living surface” is no longer the same once the sun has set. Conditions change, the game slows down again. This is more or less the message sent by Rafael Nadal’s clan when scheduling the quarter-final clash against Novak Djokovic.

A parity to be preserved

Of the ten night sessions organized this year, which are supposed to give a special place to the best posters of the tournament, nine meetings of the men’s draw have been scheduled. Only the second lap between Alizé Cornet and Jelena Ostapenko had the favor of an evening on the Philippe-Chatrier track for the ladies.

Trapped between the station’s desires and the need to satisfy the holders of these “premium” tickets, the organizers favored the ATP headliners (Djokovic, Nadal, Medvedev) and their new talents (Alcaraz, Rune) for shorter and more often. women’s unilateral parties.

When defending her election, Amélie Mauresmo justified herself by the superior appeal, at the moment, of men’s tennis over women’s tennis. Before clearing a torrent of criticism. “I was amazed at the liveliness of the reactions from the moment when, for almost 25 years, I consider that I have advanced the cause of women either as a player, or by training players, or as captain of the Fed Cup. , either for training. Andy Murray, “the former world number one reacted on Sunday morning.

Matches that start too late

Since the meetings of these gentlemen are played in the best of five sets, with a session “not before 20.52 hours”, these can end well into the night, as the “Djokodal”, which concludes shortly after ‘one. in the morning, after the end of the public transport service. The rush of taxis and other Ubers has caused prices to skyrocket and has left many spectators on the ground. Not to mention the impact of these late hours on the player’s recovery …

“Where I personally ask myself more questions is about the final calendar. We have to stop all that, think a little bit about what happened this year, start looking every night every evening, see what time it ended, how long it lasted, the temperatures too, and so on. It is also not neutral in the feelings of the players “, judged the director of the tournament, Amélie Mauresmo.

Bad luck for the organizers, the weather conditions were especially cool during this fortnight, making the night experience a little less pleasant …

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