French Open - Organisers defend drab Sunday line-up

Sun, 22 May 19:13:00 2011

French Open organisers have defended their decision not to put the game's top players into action on the opening Sunday at Roland Garros.

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Crowds were sparse on the opening day of the year's second Grand Slam, and former finalist Sam Stosur admits that it is difficult adjusting to a tournament that starts a day earlier than its counterparts.

"With all the others not doing it (starting on Sunday), it definitely is a bit of, not a shock, but it's just weird knowing that, okay, my tournament starts on Sunday and then I think you get two days off now," she said.

"So it's just a bit of a different feel, and I guess there's still a lot more people here practising today than playing matches."

None of the top six seeds in the men's draw were scheduled to play on Sunday, with Stosur the highest seeded player in action in the women's draw.

"We try to protect players who went far in the tournaments leading up to Roland Garros," French federation's competitions director Christophe Fagniez said.

"And this may affect some top names even if they were not playing. For instance, Rafael Nadal v John Isner would have been great to kick off the tournament, but Isner was in action in Duesseldorf until late in the week.

"In the women's draw, Wozniacki and Schiavone were playing in Brussels."

Eurosport expert Mats Wilander criticised the weak Sunday line-up, however, claiming that fans should have been offered a discount considering the relative paucity of top-level talent on display in his exclusive video blog:



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