Gauff Reveals 'No One Really Wants Night Session' Amid Scheduling Controversy

Gauff Reveals 'No One Really Wants Night Session' Amid Scheduling Controversy

by Evita Mueller

Night sessions have become a prominent thing in tennis in recent years as Roland Garros follows other events in an attempt to maximize revenue.

The night session at Roland Garros features 'the best match of the day' as tournament director Amelie Mauresmo put it. As the best match of the day, it's also the most expensive ticket during that particular day which is important for the event as they operate as a business.

The goal of any business is to make money to the goal is to get the most amount of people paying for the most expensive ticket. The scheduling itself at the event caused controversy as the first few days of the event featured men's matches in that 'premier' time slot. A lot of people called for equality with men and women getting the same number of matches.

The problem, as nicely put by Mauresmo last year as well, is that women's matches on average attract less attendance and it's not a good business idea to have your most expensive ticket feature a match that won't draw the biggest crowd of the day.

Moreover, it doesn't help that the number one player on the WTA side of the draw, Iga Swiatek, openly asks to avoid night-shift matches. The young Pole got to experience the night match at the Madrid Open and she wasn't impressed.

Some suggest having two matches in the night slot, one ATP and one WTA one but that's not an ideal solution either as you risk a very late finish which players wouldn't particularly like. The event already had to move up the starting times after players complained of late starts last year.

And then there is something Coco Gauff let slip in her press conference. To the shock of many, players generally don't want to play night matches because it's not practical. They finish late, have to recover, massages, which means players get to bed very late

"I mean, I really don't have much of an opinion on it. I don't know if the night session amongst the players is a popular hotspot, to be honest. I guess for the TV and that's the prime spot, maybe yes, it does suck in that sense. But amongst the players and from my conversations, I don't think a lot of people want that spot just because it is a late night."

The young American also shared that in a sense, players on the WTA Tour were happy that men were taking those matches, but that changed now with the first WTA match scheduled on the Court Philippe-Chatrier between Aryna Sabalenka and Sloane Stephens.

"Yeah, I really don't have much say on that. Yeah, I mean, just speaking to the players, I don't know if Sloane or Aryna wanted to play at that time, but I know the ones I spoke to, no one really wants the night session."

"In that sense, we were happy with the men taking it, but obviously it is the prime spot. So it does suck a little bit in that way. It depends on how you think about it, to be honest."


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