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 number one 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.