PARIS (AP) — Roger Federer was among those puzzled by the decisions to relegate the French Open women’s semifinals to lesser courts and a morning start Friday, moves the WTA head called “unfair and inappropriate.”
The conversation about gender inequality was supposed to be taking place across the street from Roland Garros — at nearby Parc des Princes stadium, where soccer’s Women’s World Cup was beginning Friday night.
But the issue also arose at the Grand Slam tennis tournament, where Ash Barty and Marketa Vondrousova won semifinals that started at 11 a.m. in front of hundreds of empty seats in secondary arenas and before the men’s matches — including Federer’s loss to Rafael Nadal — were held in the afternoon in the main stadium.
“You make it all the way to the semis, and you get put on the third-biggest court at 11. It’s a tough one,” Federer said. “When I saw the schedule, also, I was a little bit, like, surprised.”
Normally, all French Open singles semifinals are held in Court Philippe Chatrier, the biggest stadium with nearly 15,000 seats, with the women on Thursday and men on Friday. But after a full day…