Amélie Mauresmo: “Proud, honoured and ambitious”

 - Guillaume Baraise

The former world No.1 has been named as the new director of Roland-Garros

Amélie Mauresmo becomes first female tournament director at Roland GarrosFFT / Christophe Guibbaud

Amélie Mauresmo has been named as the new director of Roland-Garros until 2024. She is the first woman ever to be appointed in this position. The former world No.1 tells us how proud she is and how she hopes to further develop the tournament.

The new tournament director talks about her love of Roland-Garros and her ambitions for the tournament.

Amélie, how are you feeling after your appointment?

I feel honoured that Gilles [Moretton] wanted me for this position. I will put all my energy into this new role, as in everything I have ever done in my life. I want to work hard and excel in this new mission. I want to put forward ideas for many of the fields connected with the tournament. I’m definitely stepping out of my comfort zone!

Roland-Garros, for those that know my story, has been a very important part of my life. This tournament created a vocation within me. I started dreaming about tennis thanks to Roland-Garros! At age 4, I sat in front of the television and decided I wanted to become a tennis player, thanks to “Roland”… I stayed here in the National Training Centre when I was younger, I played in the grounds… It was my playground! This site is still very dear to me, even though the stadium has changed a lot. I qualified at age 15, I won the junior tournament…

Amélie Mauresmo, directrice de Roland-Garros© Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

My career here featured many ups and downs, in part due to all those emotions I experienced when I was younger. And, after my career, I saw a different side to the event. I have coached various players, been a television pundit, a spectator and a television viewer, too. I don’t know if anyone has seen the tournament from more angles than I have…

This gives me a certain responsibility and a fierce ambition to push Roland-Garros even further. The event is already fantastic, extraordinary. We are going to try and make it even better! [smiles]

What are you going to work on first?

First of all, I’m going to meet with the team, get to know them, take stock of the terrific work they do. I’m going to get stuck in straight away. I can’t wait! I’ve talked at length with Gilles and Amélie [Oudéa Castéra, director general of the FFT] about my role. Its scope will be very wide.

Given my background, there are things that will come more easily, like the relationship with the players, with the media, our image in terms of our partners… But I wanted wider-reaching missions. I want to put forward ideas about other subjects.

Gilles Moretton, Amélie Mauresmo, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra© Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

The sporting aspect is, of course, my primary concern, but I also want to get involved with subjects like the stadium’s occupancy rate, the responsible and philanthropic aspect of the tournament, tennis for health, the environment… These issues are very important to me, and I have already brought them up in our discussions because I want to get involved in all that.

We found that we were on the same page about the majority of these subjects. Not all, but that’s completely normal! We will work on continuing what Guy [Forget, the previous director] and his team put in place, but the general idea is to go that step further.

We know that you are a woman of action who is very grounded, but since it is almost that time, what might be your New Year’s resolution for the tournament?

To see the stadium full, day and night! Providing the health situation allows it, it would be my wish to see the stadium’s stands sold out for next year’s tournament… The night sessions, especially, will be a real challenge. Though we have less space than the other Grand Slam tournaments, I would also like to improve the player reception areas. I want Roland-Garros to be their favourite major!

I will soon find out what this will involve. The tournament will come around quickly! I want to meet the team right away. I feel very humble coming into this new position.

Gilles and Amélie, as well as Nathalie Dechy, who is part of the steering committee, will quickly explain everything to me. And, after a short period of observation, I will start putting forward my own ideas.