Ons Jabeur rips French Open over scheduling, uses Novak Djokovic example

Jabeur made it clear she wasn't happy with scheduling following her French Open quarterfinal defeat.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ons Jabeur rips French Open over scheduling, uses Novak Djokovic example
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Ons Jabeur called out the French Open organizers after her exit from the tournament as the Tunisian tennis star slammed the tournament over "prioritizing men" and also sounded off on late finishes after Novak Djokovic concluded one of his matches past 3 AM. 

On Tuesday, three-time Grand Slam finalist Jabeur took on No. 3 seed Coco Gauff in the French Open quarterfinal. In a match that started at 11 AM and was played in front of a packed Court Philippe Chatrier, world No. 9 Jabeur started well before Gauff came back to win 4-6 6-2 6-3. 

After the Jabeur and Gauff match, the next on the court were Iga Swiatek and Marketa Vondrousova. Later that day, Jannik Sinner and Grigor Dimitrov met in the men's quarterfinal, as well as Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

In the past years, there was a lot of talk about the French Open scheduling men's matches in primetime. And having a quarterfinal match scheduled for 11 AM just didn't seem right to Jabeur. 

“I have a lot to say on that topic. As you said, 10 night matches without any women playing. I don't expect any women to play in the evening, but frankly, playing a quarterfinal at 11 AM is really such a chore. We deserve to be here," Jabeur said.

Ons Jabeur
Ons Jabeur © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

After criticizing the French Open for not giving more primetime slots to women, Jabeur also suggested that Djokovic finishing his third-round after 3 AM on Sunday morning may have played a role in his knee injury that ultimately forced him to withdraw from his quarterfinal match and have a surgery.

"Playing that late for men after midnight is not a good thing. We saw yesterday how Novak was suffering with his knee. And this, because he couldn't really recover well? I think for all players, men, women, we deserve better than that," Jabeur said.

Jabeur: An early Grand Slam quarterfinal match doesn't make sense 

After making it clear that she wasn't happy about the men getting more primetime slots, Jabeur explained in detail why she believed that scheduling Grand Slam quarterfinals so early doesn't make sense. And while making her point, Jabeur asked who was finding it interesting and watching matches that are played past 1 or 2 AM. 

“I would have loved a quarterfinal at night, not at 11 AM. For me, doesn’t make sense. Maybe this is the only Grand Slam – and maybe Australian Open – they play quarter-finals at 11 AM, which for me, I don’t find it’s… you know, I don’t know the broadcasts. I don’t know the TV, but yeah, you achieve a quarter-final. You have – it’s like, no, you play at 11," Jabeur said.

“Anyways, I talked about the night matches. Honestly, I wish I can see the contract time between both [Amazon] Prime [with whom Roland-Garros have a deal in France] and here to know what’s the deal there. You know, there was a lot of good woman’s matches. Obviously not four hours [in duration], but who said it’s healthy to play past 1 AM, and who said the stadium was full for 1 AM or 2 AM? I don’t know who is watching the matches at that time.

“Again, I would suggest to start earlier and then put nice matches on both sides. It’s not healthy also for players to play past, I don’t know, 11 PM or midnight.”

Ons Jabeur
Ons Jabeur© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Swiatek didn't necessarily agree with Jabeur

After sealing a dominant 6-0 6-2 win over Marketa Vondrousova in the French Open quarterfinal, world No. 1 Swiatek was asked how she felt about playing her quarterfinal match early in the afternoon. Answering the question, the four-time Grand Slam champion said she had no issues with that.

“I don’t care. I like playing during the day, so it’s comfortable for me that I can be scheduled that way," Swiatek said.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

However, Swiatek not complaining about an early date shouldn't be really surprising since it is a well-known thing that the 23-year-old Pole prefers to play her matches during the day as that gives her a better chance at resting and recovering well. 

But earlier in the tournament, Swiatek agreed that Djokovic finishing his French Open match so late wasn't a good thing. And that pretty much summed up all players agreeing that late finishes weren't good for tennis players. 

Late finishes in tennis have been a big topic over the last few years and it will be interesting to see if the tennis authorities make any changes in that regard in the near future.

Ons Jabeur French Open Novak Djokovic