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Fichman airs out Roland Garros grievances
Conditions at the major event weren't the easiest to navigate for doubles players.
Published Jun 14, 2021
WATCH: Everything you missed on Day 15 of Roland Garros.
Coming into this year’s French Open, Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos were one of the hottest teams on the WTA Tour, having just won the biggest title of their respective careers together in Rome.
Seeded ninth in Paris, the Canadian-Mexican duo advanced to the round of 16, just falling short of matching their quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open earlier in the year.
Perhaps, though, they could have gone a bit further. As Fichman noted in a recent Instagram post, conditions were tough to navigate for doubles players at the tournament.
As specialists like Dominic Inglot and Nicole Melichar have mentioned, the prize money in doubles took a huge cut, especially compared with the reductions on the singles side.
“This year, Roland Garros cut the doubles event prize money by 24% and by only 6% for singles,” Fichman wrote in her post. “To give some perspective on the impact of this, doubles players already earn less than 1/10th of the prize money that singles players earn. In fact, if Roland Garros would have taken just 1% of the prize money from singles and allocated it to the doubles event, that would have made up the difference in pay.”
Fichman did acknowledge that the tournament apologized for this particular disparity.
"A hit to the wallet is one thing, but unable to fully prepare for an event of this magnitude on-court is another matter entirely. There, the tournament really let down the players competing only in doubles." Fichman wrote.
“Although it’s unfortunately understood by doubles players that they will almost always have inequitable access to practice times and at more unfavourable hours of the day, the experience at RG was on another level,” Fichman said. Practices were held mainly off-site through the first week of the tournament: In fact, she didn’t get to prep at Roland Garros until the warm-up before her match in the second round.
Being vegan, food presented another struggle for Fichman. “Having just one plant-based protein option onsite was by far the most challenging thing that I had to deal with,” she wrote.
While the transportation and hospitality staffs were a positive, the doubles No. 29 said she hopes the tournament has a greater focus on equity in the future.
“To paraphrase ATP player Marcus Daniell, I sincerely hope that the decision-makers read the room and give more consideration to the hundreds of athletes that work their asses off but who RG doesn’t seem to consider to be worthy of more effort,” she wrote.