Djokovic – Nadal: Amazon beats France Télévisions in the other Roland-Garros match

The poster planned between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Tuesday May 31, at Roland-Garros, finally has a defined schedule. And the specific broadcast channel that goes with it. The tournament management decided on Monday in favor of evening programming, starting at 8:45 p.m. called “night session”, to the detriment of the historic broadcaster of the France Télévisions tournament. The opposition between the two men will be exceptionally “accessible free of charge to everyone in France”announces the French Tennis Federation (FFT).

→ ANALYSIS. At Roland-Garros, the endless fall of French tennis

The stakes were high for Amélie Mauresmo, aware that if this match certainly only counts for one of the quarter-finals of the tournament, the meeting between two of the greatest players in the history of tennis is the most awaited by spectators. , a year after their epic duel on the Parisian crushed brick. The new director of the Grand Slam – and former consultant at Prime Video – even postponed a press briefing scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. to Wednesday, thus avoiding having to publicly justify her choice.

“Night sessions” criticized

The choice of the pay channel attached to Amazon, a new arrival in the node of sports broadcasts, seems logical. Since the previous edition, the contract signed with the tournament grants it the right to broadcast, at 9 p.m., the most beautiful poster of the day. But by requiring the purchase of specific tickets to attend, or by depriving most French viewers of the main showcase of tricolor tennis, these evenings have concentrated criticism since the endorsement granted in 2021 by Guy Forget.

→ CONTEXT. Roland-Garros at night time

The former tournament director had particularly struggled to convince when justifying the nighttime programming of an enticing second round between Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal, alleging a “sports fairness” so that the main players evolve at least once in an empty Philippe-Chatrier court, due, at the time, to sanitary measures.

Nadal prefers to play in the afternoon

With the stands cleared of gauge, the argument is all the less valid this year as some players themselves complain of degraded playing conditions when the sun no longer dries out the clay. “I don’t like playing on clay at night. There is higher humidity. The ball is slower and the conditions can be very heavy when it is cold,” blew the Spaniard Rafael Nadal at a press conference on Friday May 27, recalling that ocher was more dependent on the weather than hard surfaces.

The weight of the opinion of the master of the place at Roland-Garros, 13 times crowned Porte d’Auteuil and whose game on Tuesday could be his “last match in this tournament”was clearly not sufficient to influence the decision.

General interest

The sporting debate on the match schedule is also eclipsed by an issue of image: by their choice of whether or not to broadcast the match unencrypted, the organizers also bear a responsibility towards the “France of tennis”warned the former French player Nicolas Mahut in the sports daily The TeamSunday 29 May: “Roland is the heritage of French sport, just like the Tour de France. Can you imagine the Alpe-d’Huez stage broadcast on a pay channel and therefore inaccessible to the vast majority of viewers? “. And this while this sport has been in decline in France for several seasons. the number of licensees at the French Tennis Federation has even lost 350,000 licensees in thirty years.

The choice of Amazon’s video service is accompanied by a gesture: exceptionally, the duel between Nadal and Djokovic can be followed for free “on Prime Video apps, mobile and web”. Viewers will be able to “watch this match on their usual television service” without “no registration or account creation”, specifies the FFT. Remains the symbol of the economic choice of a recent partner to the detriment of the historic broadcaster.

→ VIDEO. Who was Roland Garros?


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