After criticism from Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic after their quarter-final, which ended at 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday night, Amélie Mauresmo, the director of the Roland-Garros tournament, admitted that “the evening game schedule [could] be questionable from a [player comfort] perspective.” “These are questions I ask myself too. The balance sheet, we will do it at the end “, judged in a press conference the former world number 1, appointed director of the Parisian Grand Slam in December.

“You have to find the right balance. Starting the match at 9 p.m., on clay, (…) it can end very late”, had estimated a few hours rather Rafael Nadal, winner against Novak Djokovic in four sets, after four hours and twelve minutes on the court. “I think they start too late, to be honest,” said the Serb for his part. “But again, television decides. This is the world we live in. Broadcasters choose if it’s a night game, day game. They give the money. They decide. »

The night sessions, born in 2021, are the results of a call for tenders for the broadcasting rights of Roland-Garros launched in 2019. This provides for a batch comprising ten night sessions, currently broadcast in France by Amazon. The last of the 2022 edition opposes, on Wednesday, Casper Ruud to Holger Rune, in the quarter-finals.

“The interest is obvious”

If Amélie Mauresmo understands the reluctance of the players – “some hate it, others feel it as a privilege” – the tournament director sees it as an interest for the spectators. Even if, in addition to the partition of the TV rights batches, the ticket office of the central court is also shared between day session and evening match.

“The game ended at 1:15-30, the stadium was full. Only a few people left,” she recalled of the clash between the two giants. “The evening sessions, when you are in the stadium, for me, the interest is obvious. It was full every night. »

However, there is the question of transport, she acknowledged, a “key point in the future”. The schedule for the end of the match between Nadal and Djokovic prevented spectators from using the metro, which was closed, to return to their homes. “We don’t have the means, today, to organize something for fifteen thousand people who go out,” she noted, opening the way for a dialogue “with the City of Paris to perhaps push the metro or bus system further.