Despite reservations from Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, there will be night sessions at the French Open, whose epic quarter-final clash ended at 1:15 a.m. Wednesday in front of thousands of shivering fans, many of whom were wrapped in blankets to escape the cold.
“There will be night sessions, but obviously we’re going to see if we change the start time,” admitted tournament director Amelie Mauresmo, a two-time major winner and former world number one.
Under a deal with broadcaster Prime Video, Nadal had a four-set victory over defending champion Djokovic in 10 matches at this year’s French Open at 9pm.
13-time champion Nadal wanted to play during the day and opposed participating in clay court tennis after dark.
“It’s too late, no doubt,” said Nadal, whose media promise did not expire until 2 a.m. Wednesday.
“I understand the other part of the business, without a doubt, is that television pays a lot of money but we have to find a balance.”
Djokovic added that the nighttime action at Roland Garros began “too late”.
“TV decides. That’s the world we live in. Broadcasters say it’s going to be a night match, a day match. They pay. They decide.”
The last night’s session took place after Wednesday when Holger Rune and Caspar Rudd met in the quarterfinals.
Nadal’s semifinal against Alexander Zaverev will be staged on Friday afternoon. Sunday’s final is also a matter of one day.
Mauresmo insisted that the Nadal-Djokovic night match, played at the 15,000-seat Court Philippe Chatriar, was a hit despite the drop in temperature.
“When did it end, at half past one?” It was a full, overflowing crowd. There were only a few people who had left before, “he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, the night sessions at the stadium are definitely appropriate, because it was always full to the brim every night.”
Mauresmo acknowledged that there was no “miraculous solution” to the Nadal-Djokovic conflict.
“There has been a lot of discussion. There was a lot of pressure, a lot of problems. “
The Australian Open in Melbourne starts at 7:00 pm with two matches on the slate. The final will start at 7:30 pm.
In New York, this year’s US Open will have 12 night sessions, starting at 7:00 p.m.
At Wimbledon, the game stops at 11:00 pm under a locally agreed curfew.
However, trams run free to return visitors to downtown Melbourne after the session.
In New York, public transport runs 24 hours.
The last metro back to the center of Paris is before 1:00.
“People have to leave the stadium late enough and make sure they have a way to get back home, as they should. We still have no way of organizing it for 15,000 people, “said Mauresmo.
Only one of the 10 night sessions this year featured a women’s match with Mauresmo, suggesting that the men’s event was more appealing to broadcasters.
“In an age where we are now and as a former female player, I don’t feel bad or unfair to say that you are more attractive right now – can you say that? Appeal? – For the men’s match. “
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