‘French Open organisers should be held accountable,’ says Victoria Azarenka after defeat

Victoria Azarenka has voiced her frustrations about the French Tennis Federation following her third round defeat at Roland Garros.

Azarenka, a former world number one, left the tournament on Sunday following a defeat to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, but said her disappointed in the tournament organisers wasn’t due to the loss, but with wider issues.

Discussing factors such as treatment of players and equality, the 31-year-old said she felt there was a lot lacking and not just in this year’s event.

“What concerns me is when somebody from French Federation is continually trying to say there is equality, and only pointing out to prize money, which is true,” said Azarenka.

“Everything else, I wouldn’t even agree for a little with that. And that’s disappointing”

Asked about the introduction of an evening session at Roland Garros which has so far only featured one women’s game headlined by Serena Williams and six men’s games, the Belarusian said it would have been nice to have even been asked.

“I will answer that whenever I am asked if I would like to play a night session or not. Honestly, that would be already a step forward,” she replied.

“I think there are enough examples over the years where we have heard remarks towards women, where we have seen two women’s matches being played on the outside courts. If you follow tennis, you know what I’m talking about,” Azarenka explained.

“There are no surprises that I can reveal here. But I think sometimes we need to hold some people accountable for some of those things and not continuously point out the obvious of prize money.”

The two-time Grand Slam champion says the French Tennis Federation are aware of the issues but aren’t attempting to rectify them and gave an example of one of her frustrations.

“Honestly it is a bit frustrating every time when you are trying to deal with the organisation here. It’s becoming pas possible (impossible in French) everything that you hear is pas possible,’ she said.

“When you’re coming to warm up before the match, the court is completely wet where it’s kind of dangerous to move. I just have a genuine question, Why? Why can it not be ready when people know somebody is coming to practice, players are going to warm up? I don’t understand why simple things like this are not in place.”

Azarenka concluded by saying she thinks the player’s voices need to be heard more so they can work with the tournaments to address the problems.

“I would like to have players’ voices heard more and I would like players to take responsibility as well for our part of the job and helping and working together with organizations.

“I think that’s where it can work best, when we work together and find solutions. That’s really my, I would say, ideal view and ideal approach.” Azarenka concluded.

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