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French Open: Jessica Pegula column on Roland Garros scheduling and seeing Harry Styles in Paris

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French Open scheduling

In a recent column for Sport Newes Center, American tennis player Jessica Pegula, currently ranked third in singles and second in doubles, shares her thoughts on the Roland Garros scheduling and her memorable encounter with Harry Styles in Paris.

Pegula expresses her disappointment regarding the lack of women’s matches featured in the night sessions at this year’s French Open. Out of the ten night sessions, only one showcased WTA players, specifically the match between Aryna Sabalenka and Sloane Stephens in the fourth round on Sunday. Pegula emphasizes the desire to see more women’s matches in these prime spots to highlight the quality of tennis and acknowledges that this concern has been raised by the WTA players’ council, which she is a member of. Last year, they had addressed the issue with tournament organizers, making this year’s limited representation even more disheartening. Pegula intends to express her frustration and disappointment during follow-up discussions with the Grand Slams after the event.

Pegula acknowledges that not every match will be extraordinary, but believes that denying the opportunity to showcase women’s tennis prevents its true potential from being realized. She believes that women’s tennis is undervalued, not only in Roland Garros but also in Europe as a whole. While some reasons are cited for the scarcity of women’s night matches, such as longer durations of men’s matches and perceived differences in value for money and excitement, Pegula stresses the importance of providing women with an equal chance to demonstrate their skills. She also acknowledges the challenging conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier at night, which can be cold and windy, affecting the players’ performance.

In a departure from the topic of tennis, Pegula shares a personal experience outside of the tournament. During her time in Paris, she attended a Harry Styles concert at the Stade de France, an event that provided a refreshing break from tennis. Although not an avid One Direction fan, she appreciates Styles’ music and enjoyed the opportunity to divert her attention to something different. Pegula attended the concert on the second night with fellow players Asia Muhammed and Caroline Dolehide, as the trip was initially organized by Alexa Guarachi, who had to leave early. Pegula recalls the enthusiasm of the crowd, including some French chants that confused Styles but added an amusing element to the performance.

Pegula concludes her column by expressing hope for increased representation of women’s matches in future French Open night sessions, eliminating the need for repetitive discussions. She highlights the vibrant atmosphere of the Harry Styles concert and shares her enjoyment of the diverse sounds and interactions with the crowd. Pegula notes the familiarity of certain chants due to her experience at Roland Garros, finding it amusing to encounter them in a concert setting. However, she humorously points out that unlike at tennis matches, Styles did not face any random boos from the fans.

Sport Newes Center’s Jonathan Jurejko conducted the interview with Jessica Pegula at Roland Garros.

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