In the large press conference room at Roland-Garros, late Sunday morning, Gilles Moretton, president of the FFT, and Amélie Mauresmo, director of Roland-Garros, took stock of the edition of the tournament which was about to end with the final between Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud. The president delivered the key figures of the event: “For the first time, we will exceed 300 million euros in turnover, whereas in 2019, the last “normal” edition (from before Covid), we were at €262 million. » On the spectator side in the stadium? “From 519,000 in 2019, we have gone to 613,500 this year”.
And in terms of TV audiences? No figure has filtered on the number of people who followed the quarter-final Nadal – Djokovic on Prime Video (which had made its access open to all for the occasion), but the total “was very satisfying”, says Amélie Mauresmo. “We are the most watched tournament on the planet with 699 million hours watched, added Gilles Moretton. It is a great satisfaction. We have audiences that exceeded all our expectations, with Sunday May 29, on France 3, during the match between Nadal and Auger-Aliassime, a peak of 5 million viewers. We imagine that today we will also have a record in the final. » Other topics were then discussed. Selected pieces.
The strength of the negative reactions following Amélie Mauresmo’s remarks on the superior appeal, at the moment, of men’s tennis compared to women’s tennis.
Amelie Mauresmo: “Yes, I was surprised by the liveliness of the reactions from the moment when, for almost 25 years, I consider that I have advanced the cause of women either as a player, or by coaching players, or as Fed Cup captain, or by training Andy Murray, where I took the “face” too. Change has never been very good. Whether it was also after training Lucas (Puglia), where it was much calmer, etc. We see that time is moving on. This ” bad communication “ is perhaps a clumsiness on my part, but I do not hide that it was a little rough to see that it called into question everything I could do for women’s tennis and for women in general in society .
“Where, personally, I ask myself more questions is also about the end schedule”
Night sessions, good or bad thing for Roland-Garros?
AM : “I saw really great atmospheres on these evening sessions. We didn’t really know where we were going, but the result is still there. Then there’s this exhibition (on Prime Video, therefore paid) which can indeed be problematic, although we have seen it, there are also ways to make it accessible, beyond Nadal-Djokovic. Where, personally, I ask myself more questions is also about the end schedule. We have to put all that down, think a little about what happened this year, start looking closely at each evening, see what time it ended, how long it lasted lasted, the temperatures too, etc. It is not neutral in the feeling of the players too. We will see each other soon after the tournament (for a debrief with those in charge of the organization). In ten days, we will spend 48 hours together to take stock. It’ll all be on the table. There are already very strong feelings. We are not closed, it is not fixed. It’s open for discussion. Indeed, it will certainly be necessary to make adaptations, adjustments.
The fact that players discuss non-sporting topics, such as Coco Gauff and firearms in the United States, Iga Swiatek and the situation in Ukraine.
AM “These people are free to do whatever they want and are free to use the attention given to them to advocate for causes that they believe are the right causes. I’m not here to tell you that players shouldn’t do it or that it’s wrong. So, if it’s something very ingrained in them, and they want the situation to change, let them. »
“When I was playing, I would have liked to make finals in five sets”
Gilles Moretton “Everyone has the right to say what they think. I think that’s pretty good, because it gives them a bit of a fleshed-out personality rather than just saying, “ I played well”, “Congratulations to my opponent”, etc. This allows us to understand them better. If they are not allowed to express what he or she has deep down, we will have robots, everyone will be standardized…”
Why not women’s finals in five sets at Roland-Garros?
AM : “When I played, I would have liked to make finals in five sets. It existed at the WTA Masters. So it was already in my head twenty years ago. I was defeated (that it stops at the Masters) because I would have liked to live that. Why not do it one day. I think women’s tennis stands to gain from that. The men are playing best of five sets, you see them longer too, and maybe there’s a stronger attachment that comes with that. In any case, it can be a reflection. »
What future for the governance of the FFT, which no longer has a Director General since the appointment of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra as Minister of Sports?
GM “We had anticipated things because we knew that (the departure of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra from the Ministry) was a possibility. I had said that it was somewhat the role of a president or a business leader to anticipate. We welcomed his appointment with great satisfaction for French sport and for the Federation. We agreed that Amélie (Mauresmo), in charge of the tournament, was able to answer all questions; and that on my side, with the federal teams, we answered all the questions that could affect the Federation. We weren’t in a rush. The emergency was Roland-Garros 2022.
All of our teams were really lined up to work and deliver the tournament you had. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra had done a really good job and, it must be said, she had prepared the teams well. Now, the agenda is very simple: a recruitment firm will identify as of next week a certain number of people who can correspond to the position, but without urgency. There is no panic at the Federation. It was agreed that the governance of the Federation, i.e. the “PVST” (President, Vice-President, Secretary General, Treasurer) took over the General Management of the Federation. In this time all decisions are made together. We are going to receive a certain number of people by the end of June, before making a decision. We will of course associate Amélie (Mauresmo) to the reflection and the debates, because the direction in which we want to go, both on the federal aspect and on Roland-Garros, is important. We can set ourselves the objective of being ready in September; it may be faster, but it shouldn’t take longer. »