Tennis: 'No miracle solutions' to sparse French Open crowds - Mauresmo

AFP , Sunday 9 Jun 2024

Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said she had no "miracle solutions" to combat sparse French Open crowds but lamented the poor attendance for Friday's men's semi-final between Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud.

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There were lots of empty seats for Alexander Zverev s semi-final against Casper Ruud. AFP

 

Mauresmo and Gilles Moretton, the head of the French tennis federation, said they were working on resolving the issue which has plagued this year's tournament.

After Carlos Alcaraz beat Jannik Sinner in five in the first of the men's semi-finals, the clash between Zverev and Ruud began with swathes of empty seats on the main Philippe Chatrier court.

Although tickets for the tournament were officially sold out, the recurrent images of stands that are far from packed has left a sour taste.

"I'm starting to have perhaps more advanced ideas to avoid that," Mauresmo said on Sunday without getting into further details. A tournament debrief is set to take place later this month.

"I'm not going to give you miracle solutions today, but it's something we must discuss. We're not satisfied with what we saw for the semi-finals."

Moretton was on the same page as Mauresmo.

"We can't accept seeing the stands empty like that for the second semi-final, it was already a bit like that the previous year," said Moretton, while underlining their hands were somewhat tied.

"We sold 670,000 tickets, but we can't force people to return to the court," he said.

Organisers were all the more surprised by the low turnout for the Zverev-Ruud contest given only 10 percent of spectators had bought tickets for both of Friday's semi-finals.

"It's still difficult to say to yourself that these people aren't going to come. I'm not in their head," said Mauresmo.

"More generally speaking, people aren't going to stay seated five, six or seven hours like before. It's a challenge that's not easy to sort out."

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