(Paris) The sight of vacant seats in the main Roland-Garros stadium, particularly during the singles semi-finals of the French Open tennis tournament, disappointed tournament director Amélie Mauresmo.

“We are not satisfied,” Mauresmo admitted, adding that she had “a number of ideas” to avoid a similar situation in the future, but that she did not want to share them yet.

Asked why she thinks people who have tickets don’t always use them, Mauresmo said: “Who knows? I’m not in their heads. »

“We cannot force people to go to the stands,” added the president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton.

At the annual end-of-tournament press conference, Mauresmo and Moretton announced that more than 650,000 spectators had attended Roland Garros over the past three weeks, including qualifying before the start of the main draw, on May 26.

Moretton indicated that an assessment of the entire event will be drawn up in a few weeks.

“Not everything has been perfect. We want to improve,” he admitted.

In 2024, there were no women’s matches and 11 men’s night session duels during prime time in Europe. There has only been one women’s night session match in 2022 and 2023.

“The generation and depth of talent we are currently witnessing in this sport is incredible. Fans want to see the excitement and emotion that women’s tennis generates on the biggest stages and in the best time slots,” the WTA, the umbrella body for women’s tennis, said in a statement.

“To continue to grow the value of our combined product, it is essential to have a balanced match schedule that showcases the best of both men’s and women’s tennis,” the statement added.

Mauresmo, a former No. 1-ranked player who won two Grand Slam singles titles, noted that someone from the WTA is in the room when each day’s schedule is determined.

“I didn’t see any pressure to have a women’s match in the evening,” she remarked.

Mauresmo clarified that his biggest concern about the women’s evening matches is that, in part because they use a best-of-three sets format – as opposed to the best-of-five sets used for men’s Grand Slam duels – they could be too short to be considered worth the price of admission.

She said she did not want to schedule two night-session matches – one for the women and one for the men – because play would then continue too late.

Bringing forward the start of the night session from 8:15 p.m. (local time) is not an option, as fans would not arrive at 7 p.m., for example, “given the culture we have in Paris,” he said. explained Mauresmo.

The director general of the French Tennis Federation, Stéphane Morel, added that the time needed to empty the stadium after the end of the day session, and then to let in those who have tickets for the evening session, is too long for an earlier start.

“Nothing is set in stone. Things can change,” Mauresmo emphasized.

“It’s just one game that we’re playing in a night session and so we have to make choices. This is why, this year, we wanted only men to play in the evening. »