Persistent problems at the 2024 French Open need to be fixed for next year

  • Poor officiating
  • Unruly fans
  • Empty seats
  • Terrible scheduling
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We are embarking upon the final weekend of the 2024 French Open. This has been an unusual Paris fortnight for many reasons. While there has been good tennis and heartwarming moments, a lot of problems also arose that need to be addressed before players and fans return to Roland Garros for the 2025 edition of this Grand Slam.

It is worth noting that some of these problems are not exclusive to the French Open and are indicative of issues in professional tennis as a whole so fixing the French Open may only be one piece of the puzzle.

The four most noteworthy problems at Roland Garros this year are: poor officiating, unruly fans, empty seats, and terrible scheduling.

A step-by-step look at each French Open problem

Poor officiating is an issue that every professional sport grapples with in one way or another. However, the French Open has been stubborn about instituting some method of automated lines calling. Admittedly, Hawk Eye or some form of it may not be as accurate because of the clay court bounces of the ball, but it would be better than the naked eye. Coco Gauff was the latest player to deal with questionable line calling in her semifinal match against Iga Swiatek on Thursday. Taylor Fritz and Novak Djokovic also had horrible calls. Not only is the search for the mark of the ball a ridiculous and rudimentary endeavor, but also the chair umpire and lines judges are never clear and consistent on whether a point should be replayed even if they find the mark. A casual observer would think the officiating was an amateur event.

Unruly fans have been disruptive at critical times. Whether it has been with movement during play or yelling at the wrong times, players like Iga Swiatek have been affected. Tennis has always be associated with a decorum that appears lacking these days. Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo cut the alcohol sales in the stadiums to try and curb bad fan behavior, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to fix the problem.

Next. Coco Gauff slams French Open over Novak Djokovic. Coco Gauff slams French Open over Novak Djokovic. dark

Empty seats is an issue that professional tennis deals with at smaller tournaments; however, it is surprising that it has happened at the French Open. Mirra Andreeva and Jasmine Paolini's semifinal match had plenty of empty seats. Of course, both players advanced to this round via massive upsets, but it is still shocking to see the empty stadium.

Finally, match scheduling has been an issue. Novak Djokovic played a match that ended at 3 AM local time last weekend. He is now injured. Prime time/evening matches tend to have large audiences, but the women were not featured in any of those matches. 11 prime time matches were men's matches. It begs many questions why women, whose matches are inherently shorter, are not scheduled at night. Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek's second-round match should have been played at night. Both Osaka and Switek are four-time Grand Slam champions so it seemed like a no-brainer to schedule it at night.

If the sport wants to grow, it needs to fix its problems. There are no easy answers to any of them, but work has to be done to figure out solutions that benefit the players and fans.

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