WTA

Billie Jean King: Stop treating women like second-class citizens

By Sports Desk June 04, 2022

Billie Jean King says it is time for female tennis players to stop being treated like "second-class citizens" and backed Amelie Mauresmo to redress the balance at the French Open.

Mauresmo apologised after this week stating that there had only been one women's match at Roland Garros played in the night session as the men's game is more appealing.

Iga Swiatek, who won her second grand slam title in Paris on Saturday, described the French Open tournament director's comments as "disappointing and surprising".

The legendary King has called for female players to be in the spotlight more and expects that to be the case on Court Philippe-Chatrier next year, when Mauresmo will oversee the clay-court major for a second time after a difficult start to her tenure.

"You've got to put them when it's prime time, and you have got to figure it out and you want to give equal opportunity to both genders," King said during a press conference at Roland Garros.

"Always. You always want to make sure you do the right thing by each person. They should have the same amount of women's matches as they do men's. Real easy.

"Right now we are playing two out of three sets, we will get out of there faster.

"I think the men should change that. If we keep treating us like second-class citizens we will stay second-class citizens. You want to make everyone feel important

"We should have more matches, but I think Amelie will take care of that next year. Knowing her, she's a winner."

World number one Swiatek swept 18-year-old Coco Gauff aside to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for a second time on Saturday, winning 6-1 6-3 to extend her astonishing run of victories to 35.

Related items

  • Zverev sees off Nadal on potential French Open swansong Zverev sees off Nadal on potential French Open swansong

    Rafael Nadal's possible French Open swansong came to an end following a straight-sets defeat by Alexander Zverev.

    The German came out on top 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in just over three hours on an emotional Court Philippe-Chatrier.

    It is widely believed this will be the Spaniard's final appearance at Roland Garros, where he has won a record 14 titles, though the 37-year-old acknowledged he is not yet certain on his future.

    The two players were back on Chatrier two years after their notorious semi-final showdown, which was curtailed when Zverev suffering a horrifying ankle injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

    However, fresh from his ATP Masters triumph at the Italian Open, the German was quickly into his stride this time around, winning 12 of his last 13 service points on the way to taking the first set.

    The fourth seed, who has reached three successive French Open semi-finals, then prevailed in a nail-biting second-set tie-break, before a couple of breaks in the third paved the way for him to seal a commanding win.

    Data Debrief: Third time lucky for Zverev

    Whether or not that was Nadal's final match at the French Open remains to be seen.

    What is certain is that his 14 titles are the most by any player in a single tournament in the Open Era, and his 112 match wins are the highest tally in men's singles draws in a single major event.

    Of the 74 different opponents he has faced at Roland Garros, Zverev is only the third to defeat the Spaniard after Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic.

  • Gauff races into Roland Garros second round with quickfire Avdeeva victory Gauff races into Roland Garros second round with quickfire Avdeeva victory

    Coco Gauff made a statement of intent as she steamrollered grand slam debutant Julia Avdeeva in the French Open first round.

    The world number three needed just 52 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 rout on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

    Runner-up to Iga Swiatek two years ago, Gauff has also reached a further two quarter-finals in her four previous appearances at Roland Garros

    The reigning US Open champion, who reached the Italian Open semi-finals last time out on clay, wasted little time in launching her quest for another deep run in the French capital.

    Avdeeva had come through three qualifying matches to secure her maiden appearance in the main draw of a major.

    However, the world number 208 simply had no answer for a relentless Gauff, who did not face a single break point and lost just eight points in her seven service games.

    Sealing her biggest victory in a completed match at Roland Garros, the 20-year-old set up a second-round clash with 2021 semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek.

    Data Debrief: 50 up for Gauff

    An Australian Open semi-finalist in January, Gauff's quickfire victory was also her 50th match win in the main draw of a grand slam, becoming the ninth American woman to reach that milestone before turning 21.

    The 20-year-old lost just one point off her own serve, and is now 16-3 in first-round major matches (5-0 at Roland Garros).

  • 'It's too early for Nadal comparisons', Swiatek insists after strong start at French Open 'It's too early for Nadal comparisons', Swiatek insists after strong start at French Open

    Iga Swiatek insists it is "too early" for her to be compared with Rafael Nadal, despite her impressive record at the French Open.

    The three-time champion, who lifted Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 2020, 2022 and 2023, began her quest for a third successive Roland Garros title with a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory over Leolia Jeanjean on Monday.

    Swiatek took just 61 minutes to wrap up her 15th straight win at the season's second major, becoming the first player to enjoy such a streak since Justine Henin's run of 24 straight victories between 2005 and 2010.

    The Pole has now won 29 of her first 31 matches at the French Open, with only Chris Evert and Monica Seles (both 30) triumphing more often.

    Her exploits on clay have drawn comparisons to those of 14-time men's singles champion Rafael Nadal, but the world number one still feels she has a long way to go before those can be made.

    "I think it's too early [to be called Queen of clay]," she told Eurosport. "Comparing myself to [Nadal], I don't think I'm at that level yet. I still have many things to prove.

    "He's a great person and a great athlete; I think he's shown that for many, many years. I'm just at the beginning. I'll do my best to take some lessons from him on being a good person and a good player."

    "I'm really proud of my achievements and this has always been my favourite surface," added Swiatek, who will play Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster second-round showdown. 

    "It feels like home here. Hopefully, I'm going to be here as long as possible."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.