June 07, 2019
Johanna Konta on Friday joined the chorus of disapproval descending on the tournament organisers for moving the women’s delayed semi-finals away from the main showcourt at Roland Garros – supposedly in order for them to finish before the arrival of the forecast bad weather.
Johanna Konta questions French Open organisers after semi-finals court switch
Rafael Nadal’s match against Roger Federer started two hours later on Court Philippe Chatrier, the traditional home of the women’s semi-finals, followed there by the second men’s semi between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem.
Instead of having their big day on Chatrier, the British No 1 and her opponent, Marketa Vondrousova, were moved to Court Simonne Mathieu, where the Czech teenager won 7-5, 7-6 (2), while Ashleigh Barty’s match against Amanda Inisimova took place on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The Australian won 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3.
Konta described the tournament’s newest and prettiest workplace, nestled into the garden next door, as “a beautiful court, no doubt about it”. But she agreed it was not a good look. “The way it looks probably speaks for itself.”
Did it feel like a semi-final, playing in a half-empty stadium? “In terms of the surrounding and the occasion, probably not. In terms of the match itself, probably, yeah.”
Amélie Mauresmo, Andy Murray’s one-time coach, described it as “a disgrace”. She said on social media, “Everyone agrees that the match of the day is Federer/Nadal. But what kind of message do we send when taking the decision to put the women’s semis at 11am on the second and third courts of the tournament? Not even one of them on centre court.”
Johanna Konta questions French Open organisers after semi-finals court switch
Did Konta agree? “I know you guys want headlines on this and you want me to say something really juicy. But, more than anything, what is tiring and what is really unfortunate is that athletes, female athletes, have to justify their scheduling or their involvement in an event, or their salary or their opportunities. To give time to that is even more of a sad situation than what we found ourselves in today in terms of the scheduling.
“I don’t want to sit here and justify where I’m scheduled. That’s not my job. My job is to come here and entertain people, and I feel I did that. And I feel I gave people who bought tickets every opportunity to enjoy their French Open experience.
“If the organisers do not feel that is something that can be promoted and celebrated, then I think it’s the organisers you need to have a conversation with, not me, because I did my job and I did my job well.”
Federer, who lost in straight sets to Nadal, agreed with the objections to the rescheduling. “I understand. You make it all the way to the semis and you get put on the third-biggest court at 11am. It’s a tough one. When I saw the schedule, I was a bit surprised.” Ever the diplomat, he said the change might not have been necessary if they had played more matches earlier in the week – or had a roof on one of the courts.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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