Home » French Open: Jessica Pegula column on Roland Garros scheduling and seeing Harry Styles in Paris

French Open: Jessica Pegula column on Roland Garros scheduling and seeing Harry Styles in Paris

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French Open: Jessica Pegula column on Roland Garros scheduling and seeing Harry Styles in Paris

American Jessica Pegula, who is third in the singles world rankings and second in the doubles, is the latest leading WTA Tour player to feature in a BBC Sport column.

In her third piece at the French Open, Pegula discusses the decision to put only one women’s match in the Roland Garros primetime night session.

The lack of women’s matches in the night sessions at this year’s French Open is disappointing.

Only one of the 10 night sessions featured WTA players – that was when Aryna Sabalenka played Sloane Stephens in the fourth round on Sunday.

We want to see more women in those spots, to highlight good tennis matches if we can, so it hasn’t been ideal that there has only been one primetime match for us.

I’m a member of the WTA players’ council and this issue has been raised a lot.

Last year, when there was also only one women’s night match, we spoke to tournament organisers about it.

That makes this year more disappointing because we tried to address it. We haven’t seen any improvement. We’re not sure what has happened.

After the event, when we follow up with the Grand Slams and give feedback, I’m sure we will definitely express our thoughts that we were upset not to see more women’s matches on the night schedule.

I’m not saying every match is going to be an amazing match but if we don’t have the opportunity, how are we ever going to show it?

We know people like women’s tennis, and the fans like to watch it, but it feels like our product is undervalued here and in Europe in general.

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A number of reasons are put forward by some people for why they aren’t more women’s night matches – the men’s matches are generally longer, women’s matches don’t give as much value for money, the match-ups are potentially not as exciting, etc.

But it goes back and forth, and if you want to showcase our great tennis, then you have to give us a chance.

The conditions can be difficult on Court Philippe Chatrier at night – a bit chilly and a bit windy – and that’s definitely a factor for the players, too.

Playing on Chatrier this year in the daytime, I found it is like a wind tunnel. That can definitely favour some players over others and a lot are aware of these kind of things.

I think a lot of girls don’t mind playing in the day – and I also don’t think anyone really wants to be waiting around and following a long five-set match.

Whatever the reasons, hopefully we can showcase more women’s matches in this slot next year and won’t be going through the same discussions again.

‘Harry Styles helped take my mind off tennis’

While I’ve been here in Paris, it has not all been about tennis – earlier this week, I went to see a Harry Styles concert at the Stade de France.

I wouldn’t say I’m a big Directioner – the fandom name for obsessed One Direction fans – but I definitely like his stuff.

It was nice to take my mind off tennis and do something different, especially considering it has been a long six weeks in Europe for the clay-court swing.

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He did two dates at the Stade de France – where I’d never been before – and I went on the second night with a couple of other players, including Asia Muhammed and Caroline Dolehide.

The trip was organised by Alexa Guarachi, another doubles player, because she absolutely loves him – she’s, like, obsessed.

Alexa planned this months ago and bought us all the tickets, but she lost early in the doubles and decided to go home.

We couldn’t believe it! We said “you’re going to go home? This was your whole idea, it’s your thing!” But she left and Caroline subbed in for her. She got lucky!

Even the readers who claim they don’t know anything about Harry Styles, they will definitely know Watermelon Sugar – that was being played everywhere on the radio constantly.

He has some decent music, he’s a good performer, he’s got a lot of different sounds.

He interacted with the crowd a lot. It was funny because the crowd get doing French chants and he was so confused.

He wondered what they were, saying: “”hat are these chants? I’ve never heard them.” They kept going and he was telling the crowd: “Guys, we need to play some more songs.”

I felt like I was used to them because I hear them at Roland Garros – like the bullfighting trumpet fanfare which the tennis fans sing – so it was funny to hear the same thing at a concert.

Although Harry didn’t get booed for random stuff like the fans boo the players at the tennis!

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Jessica Pegula was talking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko at Roland Garros.

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