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Federer fumes over scheduling row

By The Assam Tribune

LONDON, Nov 14: Roger Federer has hit back at claims he gets preferential treatment from tennis tournaments due to his status as one of the sport�s all-time greats.

Federer was responding to controversial comments from French veteran Julien Benneteau, who said the 20-Grand Slam champion was able to use his reputation to secure favourable scheduling.

Benneteau offered Federer�s matches at the last two Australian Opens as evidence, suggesting the Swiss star was granted his preference to play in the evening session to avoid the blistering Melbourne heat.

�Over the last two Australian Opens, he played 14 matches, because he was champion and finalist. And he played 12 or 13 of them in the night session,� Benneteau told France�s RMC Sport recently.

�On the same day Federer played Jan-Lennard Struff, Novak Djokovic played Gael Monfils.

�Any tournament director would put Djokovic-Monfils on the night session at 7:30pm, right? But no. They played at 2:30pm, in 104 degrees. And Federer-Struff played at night.

�It�s normal that he gets preferential treatment, with everything he�s done. But, in some tournaments, there are big differences in the conditions. He has no idea what that�s like.�

But Federer was supported by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Monday, with his rival suggesting the six-time Australian Open winner had actually earned the right to �special treatment� for all the good he has done for the sport.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley also released a statement saying the scheduling of Federer�s matches for the evening was a response to fan demand to watch a �once-in-a-generation athlete�, rather than any desire to cater to tennis�s biggest star.

Tiley is an investor in the Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-style annual tournament promoted by Federer and his management group Team8, but denies a conflict of interest.

Asked about the controversy, former World No. 1 Federer said that while he does speak to tournament chiefs about scheduling, he doesn�t believe he gets special favours.

�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,� Federer told reporters after his win over Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals on Tuesday.

�Sometimes they ask me, you know, Asia wants you to play at night. Yes, 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. I think there you have it.

�Yeah, sometimes they come ask, sometimes they don�t. But a lot of the facts are not right, just to be clear there, from what I heard.�

Federer is bidding to win his 100th career singles title at the ATP Finals and he made it clear he wanted to draw a line under the favouritism issue.

�I don�t really feel the mood during a World Tour Finals to discuss that topic, to be honest,� he said.

�The radio interview that happened over a week ago that surfaces now in French, Julien, who is a nice guy, I know him since the junior times, I think all of this has been totally taken out of context.� � AFP

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Federer fumes over scheduling row

LONDON, Nov 14: Roger Federer has hit back at claims he gets preferential treatment from tennis tournaments due to his status as one of the sport�s all-time greats.

Federer was responding to controversial comments from French veteran Julien Benneteau, who said the 20-Grand Slam champion was able to use his reputation to secure favourable scheduling.

Benneteau offered Federer�s matches at the last two Australian Opens as evidence, suggesting the Swiss star was granted his preference to play in the evening session to avoid the blistering Melbourne heat.

�Over the last two Australian Opens, he played 14 matches, because he was champion and finalist. And he played 12 or 13 of them in the night session,� Benneteau told France�s RMC Sport recently.

�On the same day Federer played Jan-Lennard Struff, Novak Djokovic played Gael Monfils.

�Any tournament director would put Djokovic-Monfils on the night session at 7:30pm, right? But no. They played at 2:30pm, in 104 degrees. And Federer-Struff played at night.

�It�s normal that he gets preferential treatment, with everything he�s done. But, in some tournaments, there are big differences in the conditions. He has no idea what that�s like.�

But Federer was supported by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Monday, with his rival suggesting the six-time Australian Open winner had actually earned the right to �special treatment� for all the good he has done for the sport.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley also released a statement saying the scheduling of Federer�s matches for the evening was a response to fan demand to watch a �once-in-a-generation athlete�, rather than any desire to cater to tennis�s biggest star.

Tiley is an investor in the Laver Cup, a Ryder Cup-style annual tournament promoted by Federer and his management group Team8, but denies a conflict of interest.

Asked about the controversy, former World No. 1 Federer said that while he does speak to tournament chiefs about scheduling, he doesn�t believe he gets special favours.

�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,� Federer told reporters after his win over Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals on Tuesday.

�Sometimes they ask me, you know, Asia wants you to play at night. Yes, 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. I think there you have it.

�Yeah, sometimes they come ask, sometimes they don�t. But a lot of the facts are not right, just to be clear there, from what I heard.�

Federer is bidding to win his 100th career singles title at the ATP Finals and he made it clear he wanted to draw a line under the favouritism issue.

�I don�t really feel the mood during a World Tour Finals to discuss that topic, to be honest,� he said.

�The radio interview that happened over a week ago that surfaces now in French, Julien, who is a nice guy, I know him since the junior times, I think all of this has been totally taken out of context.� � AFP

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