Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon
Osaka withdrew from the French Open after the first round.
During her post-match press conference at the French Open, Victoria Azarenka criticized the tournament’s dedication to gender equality.
When asked about the lack of women’s matches in the night session lineup, Azarenka expressed her disappointment. Only one of the seven French Open night matches featured the women’s draw.
“What concerns me is when somebody from French Federation is continually trying to say there is equality and only pointing out to prize money, which is true,” said the former world No.1, adding that there is more to the equation than prize money.
Azarenka pointed out that this year’s night schedule is part of a broader pattern of inequality from the French Federation.
“I think there are enough examples over the years where we have heard remarks towards women, where we’ve seen two women’s semifinal matches playing on the outside courts,” Azarenka said of the Grand Slam organizers.
In response, tournament director Guy Forget said that the night schedule was challenging to plan and that timing was a factor in his decision not to hold two matches a night on the center court.
“We want the fans to be happy,” he said.
Following her 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Azarenka had blanket criticism for the Grand Slam, which she said had nothing to do with her defeat.
“It’s just honestly a bit frustrating every time you’re trying to deal with the organization here,” she said.
Azarenka’s comments come after the tournament drew criticism for its handling of Naomi Osaka’s decision not to participate in her press duties at Roland-Garros and her subsequent withdrawal from the Grand Slam.
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