Coco Gauff says ‘no one really wants’ French Open night session slot

Coco Gauff in Paris

Coco Gauff has said the lack of French Open women’s night matches “sucks”, but revealed that “no one really wants” to play in the late slot.

The world No 6 explained that the WTA players she has spoken to are “happy with the men taking it” instead of playing late at night.

The match between Sloane Stephens and Aryna Sabalenka on Sunday is the first women’s singles contest to have been selected for the night slot on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Prior to that, all six of the late matches played in the tournament were men’s singles encounters.

Gauff defeated 16-year-old rising star Mirra Andreeva 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1 in the third round at Roland Garros on Saturday.

After progressing to the last 16, the 19-year-old was asked about the disparity between men’s and women’s matches being chosen for the night session spot.

“I didn’t see that they (Sabalenka and Stephens) were scheduled. I didn’t realise only the men have been scheduled in that spot,” Gauff said in her post-match press conference.

“I don’t know if the night session amongst the players is a popular hotspot, to be honest. I guess for the TV and that’s the prime spot, maybe yes, it does suck in that sense.

“But amongst the players and from my conversations, I don’t think a lot of people want that spot just because it is a late night. I really don’t have much say on that.

“I mean, just speaking to the players, I don’t know if Sloane or Aryna wanted to play at that time, but I know the ones I spoke to, no one really wants the night session.

“On that sense, we were happy with the men taking it, but obviously it is the prime spot. So it does suck a little bit in that way. It depends on how you think about it, to be honest.”

Former world No 27 Laura Robson, now a Eurosport tennis expert, gave her thoughts on the scheduling controversy.

“I don’t think [Alexander] Zverev v [Frances] Tiafoe (the night match on Saturday) is a bad match at all – I think that’s a great match and it has so much potential, both players playing some good clay-court tennis, Tiafoe always brings in the energy, he gets the crowd involved,” Robson told Eurosport.

“Zverev started to win the crowd over in his last match where he played in the night session by saying he was going to become French for the next 10 days.

“But ultimately you look at any of the women’s matches on the schedule and you can say the same things about them, and say the same positive things about the players involved.

“Gauff is a star and [Iga] Swiatek is a star, and they should get the opportunity to show that on the biggest stage.”

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