Roland Garros TD Guy Forget has muddied the waters as the mini-controversy over night match scheduling on showcase court Chatrier rumbles on in Paris.

RMC reported this week that the debut of night play at the newly renovated complex would feature only men’s matches. 

But that was quickly knocked back in a statement from the federation, which insisted that the division of labour would be equitable.

“The FFT would like to underscore that at Roland Garros women and men enjoy equal footing, notably when it comes to prize money,” the statement read.

“In this vein, two women’s and two men’s matches are to be programmed daily on Court Phillipe-Chatrier.”

French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli, Rod Laver and Tournament Director Guy Forget: Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“The day’s play will therefore consist of three day matches and one night match. The fourth match, the match of the day, which will be played from 9pm, could be either a men’s or women’s match depending on the order of play decided upon by the head tournament umpire.”

The unprecedented concept of night play in Paris has drawn mixed reviews, with the possibility only made possible after the Chatrier stadium and surrounds were lit for after-dark competition.

Former player Forget hedged his bets on how the 10-strong series of late matches would be handled, not exactly putting WTA matches were top of his priority programming list.

He told L’Equipe: “The first (WTA) rounds for the seeds are often one-sided matches.

“We will rather favour men’s matches; even if Rafael Nadal wins 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, he will play for 1 hour 45 minutes or 2 hours. If it’s 6-1, 6-1 in women, it can last 40 minutes.”
But he added: “”We did not forbid ourselves to play women’s matches. We did not say to ourselves either that we will only play men’s matches. 

“If at some point there is a women’s match that is a great showdown, it could be the game of the day, the one people want to see first. We will want to put this match in the evening session.”

Roland Garros, postponed a week in hope the French COVID pandemic dies down, is not set to start on May 30, one week later than usual.


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