French Open lacks gender equality, aside from prize money - Victoria Azarenka

French Open lacks gender equality, aside from prize money - Victoria Azarenka

During her postmatch news conference, Azarenka was asked about the lack of women's matches in the night session during the tournament. Just one -- a first-round match between Serena Williams and Irina-Camelia Begu -- of the seven prime-time matches has featured women.

"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," Azarenka said. "Everything else, I wouldn't even agree for a little with that. And that's disappointing."

Initial reports in April about the addition of night matches at the 2021 French Open stated they would only feature male competitors, but the tournament dispelled that in a news release.

Azarenka, the two-time major champion and former world No. 1, said there have been other examples of the unequal treatment at Roland Garros.

"I mean, I think there [are] enough examples over the years where we've heard remarks towards women, where we've seen two women's semifinal matches playing on the outside courts," she said. "I mean, you guys, if you follow tennis, you know what I'm talking about. I think there [are] no surprises that I can reveal here.

"I think sometimes you need to hold some people accountable for some of those things and not continuously point out to the obvious of prize money."

Neither of the women's semifinal matches during the 2019 French Open was held on Court Philippe Chatrier, the tournament's center court, unlike both of the men's matches in the same round. Both singles champions will earn $1.7 million for winning the tournament this year.

Azarenka lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, ending her attempt to reach the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the first time since 2013.

John Jay

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