Tennis. Roland-Garros: Mauresmo has “more advanced” ideas to avoid empty seats

The empty seats in the stands of Roland-Garros have once again caused controversy this year, at Roland-Garros. Amélie Mauresmo, tournament director, takes stock of this 123e edition and looks ahead to the future.

What assessment do you draw from this 2024 edition?

VSIt was a great tournament for three weeks. I liked theopening week, with 75,000 people coming to see tennis. Part of a new audience, younger and who came to discover Roland-Garros in a different way. There is a craze around tennis. We saw people waiting for hours, sometimes whole days, before finally there was a clearing in the evening and an incredible atmosphere on all grounds. Roland-Garros today brings these emotions. It was also the right year for the Lenglen roof to come into play, it served us well. We managed to get through this first week of the final draw, despite very complicated weather, to take place the tournament in classic conditions. Without the two roofs and even the stadium lights, it would have been more than complicated. This year we launched 100% mobile ticketing. With 670,000 people entering the stadium, everything worked well. »

“We are not satisfied with what we saw on Friday”

Why was there no women's match in the night session?

“I’ve been saying it forever. We are on a formula of a single match, with constraints in relation to playing time. First, there are the posters that we look at. And then there is the playing time that we try to guarantee for the evening spectator. Nothing is ever set in stone. This unique match leads us to make choices. We can ask ourselves the question of going to two matches. But Parisian culture is not about arriving at 7 p.m. in the stands. We are all absolutely convinced of this. We would end up with other problems. »

How can we avoid the image of a half-empty stadium, like at the start of the second men's semi-final? This is the only Grand Slam where it happens this way…

“I'm already starting to have more advanced ideas, let's say, to avoid that. But once again there are operational constraints. I'm not going to give you a miracle solution right away. Of course we are not satisfied with what we saw on Friday for the second semi-final. »

Do you know why people buy tickets and don't come to the stadium? People don't understand why they can't reserve seats anymore and when they watch TV, the stadium is half empty…

“A person who buys their ticket for the day at Roland-Garros is not going to sit in their seat for five, six, seven, eight hours. This is less the case than before. We tried to put solutions in place, to give other people the opportunity to enjoy the show while ticket holders were in the annexes or enjoying the life of the stadium. Two years ago, we introduced up tickets. Unfortunately, we were confronted with a form of incivility, from people who did not have access to Chatrier and who did not want to leave when the ticket holder returned. You try to put things in place by relying on everyone's good civic sense. Obviously, this kind of behavior is chilling. »

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