With rain showers washing out Wednesday's French Open matches at Roland Garros, tournament officials were forced to push the women's semifinals — originally slated for Thursday — back a day to Friday.
In doing so, to assure maximum exposure for the men's semifinals matches on the same day with conflicting times, officials scheduled the women's matches on outside courts while the men's semis will be on the main court.
Women's Tennis Association CEO Steve Simon issued a statement expressing disappointment with the French Open's court scheduling and the accompanying message it sent about the women's field.
“There’s no doubt that scheduling has been challenged by weather conditions and the WTA understands the scheduling issues presented at Roland Garros," the statement began, acknowledging the tournament's first rainout in three years.
Australia's Ashleigh Barty shakes hands with Madison Keys of the U.S. after winning their women's singles quarter-final match on Day 12 of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 6, 2019. (Photo: THOMAS SAMSON, AFP/Getty Images)
"We are, however, extremely disappointed by the scheduling of both women’s semifinals on outside courts. This decision is unfair and inappropriate. The four women who have played so well and made it this far have earned their right to play on the biggest stage. We believe other solutions were possible which would have been to the benefit of fans as well as all players.”
In the women's quarterfinals on Thursday, Amanda Anisimova defeated Simona Halep and Ash Barty defeated Madison Keys. Anisimova will face Barty in one 5 a.m. ET semifinal Friday, with Johanna Konta facing Markéta Vondroušová in another 5 a.m. ET outside court match. The men's semifinal between Roger Fedrer and Rafael Nadal begins at 6:50 a.m. ET on the center court and Novak Djokovic plays on the center court next at 8:50 a.m. ET.
More bad weather could ultimately send the women's semifinals to Saturday. French Open tournament director Guy Forget said it is possible that the women's singles final could be delayed a day because of the rain that has jumbled the schedule and the rainy forecast. Forget said that he would rather not postpone the women's championship match from Saturday to Sunday — when the men's final takes place.
"If we have no other choice, that's what we'll do," he told The Associated Press.
Starting next year, Roland Garros will have a retractable roof over the main court to make it the last of the four Grand Slam events to have at least one stadium in which matches can be played in any weather.
French Open officials came under scrutiny last year for their treatment of Serena Williams by banning the superstar's catsuit outfit that they deemed inappropriate.
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