The 2017 Roland Garros edition was historical in some ways, as 472,000 spectators attended the event during three weeks including qualies match that were watched by 21,000 people. It was beaten the record of 2015 with 456,000 spectators, the tournament director Guy Forget announced in a press conference call on the men's finals day.
Forget also spoke about the first Sunday schedule, were there were not high-caliber players. It's not something new, Forget said: 'We faced that issue many times in the past. Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, they asked us to play on Sunday, the very first Sunday of the tournament, because in the past few years the weather was not bad.
So it was quite a smart move to play on Sunday. But some players would like to start later, even on Wednesday. So it's very difficult to change the habits of tennis players. But for the high-caliber players, we want to meet their expectations and wishes.
This year we could have got a more prestigious match on Sunday. And as of next year, we will emphasize that point. We will inform the players, the agents, the trainers, and we will tell them that if they are here four days or five days before the tournament, there is no reason why they should play later in the week.
So we will work on that for the 2018 Roland Garros. You're right. But when you have a look at the schedule on Monday, on Tuesday, there were more enticing matches with high-caliber players.' They decided to divide men's semi-finals in two sessions, in order to make sure that both matches had packed crowd from the beginning to end.
In 2013, for example after the more four-hour match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, a very few people watched Jo-Wilfried Tsonga play his match against David Ferrer. 'It's not pleasant when you see on TV a court with vacant seats,' Forget added. 'The two semi-finals with two separate sessions is one of the ways we have used in order to remedy this situation.
The spectators are not ready to spend six hours, seven hours on a chair under the sun.' ALSO READ: Roland Garros - First Major title for Ostapenko, who beat Halep in 3 sets!