Becoming Roland-Garros Tournament Director Is Latest Barrier-Breaking Chapter for Mauresmo

Amelie Mauresmo (photo: Florian Heer)

WASHINGTON, December 10, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

When the news broke on Thursday that Amélie Mauresmo had been named as the first woman tournament director of Roland-Garros, it was the latest chapter in her remarkable barrier-breaking career.

“I am very proud to join the Roland-Garros team,” Mauresmo said in a statement on the Roland-Garros website. “I have accepted the position of Tournament Director with clear ambitions.

“I will carry them out with the same high standards, freedom and passion that have always driven me.”

Mauresmo, 42, a native of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, is a former WTA World No. 1 who won two Grand Slam titles – 2006 Australian Open and 2006 Wimbledon Championships, both over Justine Henin – won 25 singles and three doubles titles, garnered a 545-247 career win-loss record in singles, and earned more than $15 million in prize money. She won a singles silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and captured the 2005 season-ending WTA Finals singles title.

Also, Mauresmo was ranked in the year-end Top 10 every year from 2001-06, helped France win the 2003 Fed Cup (now called the Billie Jean King Cup) title and later became the captain of the team that finished runner-up in 2016. She’s also served as France’s Davis Cup captain and been a coach to Andy Murray, Marion Bartoli and Lucas Pouille.

Mauresmo, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016 after retiring from the sport in 2009, takes over the role of Roland-Garros tournament director from former French great Guy Forget, who served in the role since 2016.

In an interview published by the Roland-Garros website, Mauresmo said she felt honored that French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton wanted her for the tournament director position.

“I will put all my energy into this new role, as in everything I have ever done in my life,” she said. “I want to work hard and excel in this new mission. I want to put forward ideas for many of the fields connected with the tournament. I’m definitely stepping out of my comfort zone!”

Mauresmo has seen a lot of different sides of tennis in her lifetime and career – as a player, as a coach, as a television pundit – even as a spectator and as a TV viewer.

“I don’t know if anyone has seen [Roland-Garros] from more angles than I have. … This gives me a certain responsibility and a fierce ambition to push Roland-Garros even further. The event is already fantastic, extraordinary. We are going to try and make it even better.”

Read Mauresmo’s entire interview with the Roland-Garros website here.

Decision to step down as USTA chief was Dowse’s decision

Although Michael Dowse was CEO and executive director of the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) just two years, he had to navigate both the coronavirus pandemic and also the financial fallout from it. His decision announced on Wednesday to leave the governing body of U.S. tennis was his and seemed to catch everyone – players, officials and USTA board members – by surprise.

Dowse, 55, told New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey that he was ready to move on after having day-to-day management duties at a single organization. “After 15 years of being president or CEO,” he said, “I am ready for more balance in my life and moving more into the role of adviser, consultant or board member in the broader arena of sports.”

During Dowse’s USTA tenure, which began in 2019, he steered the US Open through the pandemic, making the decision to hold the 2020 edition of the year’s final major behind closed doors without spectators. In doing so, it allowed the USTA to protect operating revenue through its existing broadcast and sponsorship deals. The US Open is the USTA’s primary source of revenue each year. This year, the US Open allowed for full attendance during the two weeks of the main draw.

At the same time, under Dowse’s stewardship, grass-roots development and participation in tennis throughout the United States during the pandemic grew. The number of participants playing at least once in 2020 rose 22.4 percent from the year before to 21.6 million players.

Mahut: “Ici, ou ailleurs – Here, or somewhere else”

France’s Nicolas Mahut, part of the 2021 ATP Finals champion doubles team, is serving as the tournament director for this week’s WTA 125 Open Angers Arena Loire in Angers, France. On Thursday, he shared this heartfelt thought and message – #WaitingForPengShuai – for Chinese tennis professional Peng Shuai, who after posting a sexual assault allegation against a former top government official on social media, disappeared from public view.

WTA Tournament Award winners revealed

The players have voted and on Thursday the WTA Tournament of the Year Award winners were revealed. The tournament awards are broken down into three categories, which reflect the different levels of WTA tournaments: 1000, 500, 250.

• WTA 1000: BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif.

• WTA 500: St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy at St. Petersburg, Russia.

• WTA 250 (tie): Tenerife Ladies Open at Tenerife, Spanish Canary Islands; and Phillip Island Trophy at Melbourne, Australia.

According to the WTA, the WTA Tournament of the Year Award winners are ones who “have received recognition from WTA players due to the excellence of their staff and organization, passionate fans and wider dedication to the sport and its athletes.”

Another endorsement deal for Raducanu

Add French water giant Evian as the latest to sign reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu to a lucrative endorsement deal.