Tunisian Ons Jabeur said fans should not simply assume that women’s matches will be ‘crappy’ after learning that tickets for Sunday’s French Open night session were resold when a women’s singles contest was scheduled for the first time this year.
The first seven days had only men’s singles matches played in the night session at Court Philippe-Chatrier but on Sunday women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka will take on American Sloane Stephens.
Jabeur said she hoped to see a full stadium with fans giving women a chance as “two excellent and incredible players” battle it out under the lights for a place in the quarter-finals.
“It’s time to change that vision, because I find that people don’t watch many female matches and they just judge that it’s going to be a crappy match. But it’s not the case, there are a lot of extraordinary matches,” Jabeur told reporters.
“Women are training, playing extraordinary matches … How can you judge a women’s match without watching it? I hope that is going to change the mentality of giving a chance for these women who fight on a daily basis.
“Because honestly, we do a lot of efforts. We make a lot of sacrifices that men don’t have to do on the tour.”
Jabeur said it was “high time” they scheduled a women’s match in the night session and questioned why Roland Garros did not have two matches like the other Grand Slams.
“I played very late in Australia, I played very late at the US Open. It’s not necessarily a good thing, but it’s just putting two matches,” she said.
“Maybe they should start the night session a bit earlier to be able to put two matches. I understand with men playing five sets it can be difficult, but we did it in the other Grand Slams.”
Jabeur came from behind to beat Olga Danilovic 4-6 6-4 6-2 on Saturday and when asked why she had struggled against the Serbian qualifier, she smiled and said it was an issue “men will never understand”.
“Being a woman is tough,” she said. “It depends with the time of the month that you have, but sometimes you have to manage. Unfortunately I had few days where it’s very tough.
“This thing you can never 100 per cent manage, unfortunately, but I’m learning to know my body better.”