Johanna Konta was unhappy with the scheduling (Picture: Getty Images)Johanna Konta left the French Open with her head held high and with ‘no regrets’ but criticised tournament organisers’ scheduling after the women’s semi-finals were pushed off the main show court in Paris.
The British No. 1 went down 7-5 7-6 (7-2) to 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova in a less than half full Simonne-Mathieu – the third show courtat Roland Garros – with tournament officials hamstrung by their decision to sell each of the men’s semi-finals as a single match.
It’s an awkward look for an event that opted not to do the same with the women’s semi-finals, and while, undoubtedly, the men’s line-up is full of far more high profile names than the women’s – none of whom had previously contested a Slam final – it smacks of unfairness that the women weren’t put on the same platform.
Selling each semi-final as a separate match in itself is a move driven by greed but it did somewhat force the event managers to keep them both on Philippe-Chatrier on Friday afternoon.
Tomorrow’s scheduling of the women’s semi finals @rolandgarros is a disgrace ! pic.twitter.com/NJds8Oqcz8
— AmelieMauresmo (@AmeMauresmo) June 6, 2019
While Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief Steven Simon branded it as ‘inappropriate’ and Andy Murray’s former coach Amelie Mauresmo claimed it was a ‘disgrace’, Konta was reluctant to completely unload of those involved in scheduling, but eloquently put her point across in the final question of the press conference.
‘I know you guys want headlines on this and you want me to say something really juicy. I’m not oblivious to that,’ she smiled.
‘But I think more than anything, what is tiring and what is really unfortunate in this more than anything is that women have to sit – you know, athletes, female athletes, have to sit in different positions and have to justify their scheduling or their involvement in an event or their salary or their opportunities. And I think to give time to that is even more of a sad situation than what we found ourselves in today in terms of the scheduling.
WTA CEO Steve Simon’s statement on the scheduling of the 2019 Roland Garros women’s semifinals: pic.twitter.com/XbbUBtQjz4
— WTA (@WTA) June 6, 2019
‘I think – I don’t want to sit here and justify where I’m scheduled. That’s not my job. My job is to come here and entertain people, and I feel I did that. And I feel I gave people who paid tickets every opportunity to enjoy their French Open experience.
‘And if the organisers do not feel that that is something that can be promoted and celebrated, then I think it’s the organisers you need to have a conversation with, not me, because I did my job and I did my job well.
‘I think the way it looks probably speaks for itself more than anything. So I don’t really have much else to say on it.
‘The court that we played on is a beautiful court, no doubt about it. I played my third round on there. So it’s nice to be on a nice court. However, yeah, I think the way it looks probably speaks for itself.’
With regards to the match itself, Konta insisted she didn’t have any regrets despite missing a sitter on set point.
Vondrousova reached the final (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)Rushing to the net at full pelt, the Briton sent a forehand drive volley long with the court at her mercy, but she was confident she would do the same again.
‘It’s actually not that difficult, because I did the right thing,’ she added. ‘There were certain things that also had a say in how those balls went. It was incredibly blustery out there.
‘I took the opportunity to come in and take it out of the air, and that’s what I would do nine times out of ten, and probably nine times out of ten it probably would go in, as well.
‘But, yeah, no, I definitely don’t regret anything I did out there. And even the following point I think I hit a slice that maybe hit the tape.
‘To be honest, I, again, I feel very comfortable with how I played and what I tried to do out there. Yeah, I don’t think I have any regrets, really.’