Cape Town – Roger Federer got a little annoyed after being asked about
recent comments claiming he gets special treatment from tennis tournaments due
to his status in the game.
Speaking to reporters after his 6-2, 6-3 victory over
Dominic Thiem on Tuesday, the Swiss great was asked about recent comments made
by fellow player Julien Benneteau in an interview with France’s RMC Sport.
The Frenchman said that Federer often is given the choice of
playing when he wants, whether it be evening or day sessions, or even choosing
which days of the week to play.
Benneteau pointed to the last two Australian Opens, where
Federer was able to avoid the sweltering Melbourne heat by playing evening
sessions, as an example of the kind of preferential treatment he receives.
But the 20-time Grand Slam champ wasn’t really in the mood
to discuss the topic with reporters, saying he sometimes gets a choice and
other times not, and he didn’t see it as a major issue.
“I get asked, ‘Would you like to play Monday or
Tuesday?’ sometimes. Sometimes, I get asked, ‘Do you want to play day or
night?’. Sometimes, they go ask my agent,” said Federer.
“Sometimes, they ask me, ‘Asia wants you to play at
night’. Sometimes, we have our say. But I asked to play on Monday at the US
Open and I played on Tuesday night.
“It’s all good, you know. I’ve had that problem for 20
years in the good way. Sometimes, I get help, sometimes, I don’t.
“A lot of the facts are not right.
“I don’t really feel that I am in the mood during a
World Tour Finals to discuss that topic, to be honest.
“The radio interview that happened over a week ago…
Julien is a nice guy, I know him since the junior times, all of this has been
totally taken out of context.”
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has also come
to Federer’s defence, saying the choice of when Federer plays often comes down
to what’s best for spectators, not for the player himself.
“It needs to be said that Roger Federer is a player
widely regarded as one of the biggest ‘box office’ athletes in the world,”
“He has been regularly voted Australia’s favourite
athlete. The fans demand his appearance in the big stadiums and our
broadcasters naturally want his matches to air in prime time.
“And I don’t think there’s a tournament director in the
world who is not going to take those factors into account when setting the
“This is the case with all the big names in tennis, and
in sport in general.”