French Open boss hits back at sexism suggestions after controversy

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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French Open boss Amelie Mauresmo says she was taken out of context after suggesting women's tennis had less appeal than men's. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
French Open boss Amelie Mauresmo says she was taken out of context after suggesting women's tennis had less appeal than men's. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

French Open director Amelie Mauresmo has apologised for comments suggesting women's tennis was lacking 'appeal', saying she had been taken out of context.

The former World No.1 was heavily criticised after saying it had been 'tough' to find suitable women's fixtures to fill the night sessions which had been introduced at the grand slam.

WOW: Teen ace Coco Gauff stuns in never-before-seen feat at French Open

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Just one of 10 night fixtures features a women's match-up, a second round clash with France's Alize Cornet the big draw.

Current World No.1 Iga Swiatek said she was 'surprised and disappointed' by Mauresmo's comments, but the French former superstar sought to clarify what had been said on Friday.

After saying earlier in the week that men's matches had 'more attraction and appeal' at the present time, Mauresmo insisted she was not trying to be negative about the state of the women's game.

"I want to say sorry to the players that really felt bad about what I said," Mauresmo said.

"The comments I made were taken out of context.

"The people who know me, who've known me on and off the court, throughout my career, throughout everything that I've done, know I'm a big fighter for equal rights and women's tennis, women in general."

Swiatek has played all of her matches during the day, and is getting set to face American teenager Coco Gauff in the final.

The Polish superstar eased past Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 in the semi-finals, while Gauff proved too good for world No.42 Martina Trevisan.

Gauff, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament and is the youngest finalist at any grand slam in 18 years, needed time to find her range, trading two early breaks each with Trevisan.

Once she found a way to neutralise the left-hander's punishing forehand, however, Gauff breezed through the first set by winning the last three games.

Swiatek to face Coco Gauff in French Open final

The 18-year-old, who was already in unknown grand slam territory with her first semi-final spot, will next face Polish top seed Swiatek, who cruised into Saturday's final with a 6-2 6-1 demolition of Russian Daria Kasatkina to stretch her winning run to 34 matches.

"I am a little bit in shock right," Gauff, who is also through to the women's doubles semi-final with Jessica Pegula, said. "Honestly, I wasn't nervous going in today which is a surprise."

"Playing Iga, she's on a streak right now obviously, and I think going in I have nothing to lose and she's definitely the favourite going into the match on paper."

"I'm just going to play free and play my best tennis. I think in a grand slam final anything can happen."

Coco Cauff has won through to her first grand slam semi final, defeating compatriot Sloan Stephens in the French Open quarters. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
Coco Cauff has won through to her first grand slam final, with Iga Swiatek waiting for her in the French Open decider. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Ranked 23rd in the world, Gauff broke her again in a game lasting 14 minutes to go 3-1 up and never looked back, sealing her biggest career victory on her first match point.

"If I do lift the trophy, honestly, I don't think my life is going to change really," Gauff said. "I know it sounds kind of bad to say that, but the people who love me are still going to love me regardless if I lift the trophy or not."

She'll have a job on her hands to beat the upbeat Swiatek, who is looking to become the fourth woman since 2000 - after Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

"I'm so grateful to be in this place and you know, be healthy and be able to play my game. It's amazing and I love playing here," said Swiatek.

"Right after my first year there was COVID and I was not able to see how many Polish people would come. It's overwhelming.."

With AAP

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