Women's court move 'shameful'

PARIS • The French Open was plunged into a sexism row, as the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) criticised the decision to move the women's semi-finals away from the showpiece court as "unfair and inappropriate".

After torrential rain washed out play on Wednesday, the last two women's quarter-finals were played on Thursday, with the semi-finals, scheduled for the main 15,000-seater Philippe Chatrier Court, pushed back a day.

However, Ashleigh Barty played Amanda Anisimova on the 10,000-seater Suzanne Lenglen court while Johanna Konta beat Marketa Vondrousova on the smaller 5,000-seater Simonne-Mathieu.

The men's semi-finals, Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic-Dominic Thiem, were played on the Chatrier court as planned yesterday.

An "extremely disappointed" WTA chief executive Steve Simon said: "The four women who have played so well and made it this far have earned their right to play on the biggest stage.

"We believe other solutions were possible which would have been to the benefit of fans and all players."

France's two-time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo, 49, blasted on Twitter: "It is shameful for our tournament. Everyone agrees that the match of the day is Federer-Nadal. But what message are we sending by taking the decision to put the two women's semi-finals on at 11am on the second and third courts?

"No match on the centre court? It's simple to open Lenglen and Chatrier and have the two women's matches at 1pm followed by the two men's."

Tournament organisers, however, said the decision had been a logical one.

"By scheduling a women's semi-final on Court Philippe Chatrier, there would have been high probability that the first men's semi-final will start late, with the risk that the second semi-final can not be completed and that this goes against sport equity."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, DPA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2019, with the headline 'Women's court move 'shameful''. Print Edition | Subscribe